Welcome to the book blitz for ONCE UPON A LEGEND, a standalone young adult fantasy romance, by Mary Ting. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
A story of love and a power that echoes through time.
A prophecy foretold by the Council.
A sword forged by the Ladies of the Lake.
A child born from love and the hope of thousands.
Seventeen-year-old Idrisa is a student from Dumont Orphan School. When the Emperor of Dumonia invites all citizens to a birthday gala for Prince Merrick, she attends and becomes entangled in a world beyond belief.
At the party, Idrisa begins to hear strange voices that urge her to go to the lake. A student from school follows and tries to kill her, but in the fight for her survival, Idrisa gains possession of an eternal sword—gifted by the Ladies of the Lake.
The Emperor demands it, but only Idrisa can wield the sword, so he imprisons her. Her only hope is Prince Merrick, but he is grieving the death of his mother and doesn’t care about anything happening around him.
While held captive, Idrisa uncovers secrets that challenge everything she thought she knew about Dumonia. Enemies and allies emerge when they hear news of the sword, and she must unlock the mystery of the weapon before darkness descends on the empire forever.
Excerpt #2 “They are all children of the Blood Plague.” The Council’s voices seemed shocked, almost afraid.
“It’s not possible,” Thalia shrieked, folding her arms to her chest.
But it was possible if Mariam and Delphi had lied to us. About fifty of us in my year had been brought to the school as babies. They could have lied and told us we were two when we’d really been three. Delphi would know, but she was gone.
“You can ask the other scholars. They can explain,” I shouted my random thoughts. “Lady Mariam, our director, she’s coming the …”
Had I said too much? But where was Mariam? Had the other scholars not informed her about us missing from the school? And if they had, did she not care?
The emperor twirled his ring on his finger, looking into the distance. Hopefully he heard my words and was contemplating mercy.
The emperor sighed. “What shall we do, Sister? We can’t afford to have this happen again. Not after all we have done.”
A soft, diabolical purr escaped from Ravana as she walked away from the golden circle. Her eyes darkened and pulsated like a thunderstorm ready to burst. The room went dead silent as we awaited her verdict.
“Kill every single one of them,” Ravana hissed. “The scholars. The little brats. And burn the school down. I don’t want any survivors. Not even an insect.”
“No,” I yelled.
My friends’ wails joined mine.
All those children, students, and scholars. My home, the only home I’d ever known. The emperor wouldn’t, would he? When he smirked, I had my answer. I had to do something. This was my fault. The goddesses’ fault. Help us, I prayed.
Why go through the trouble of giving me the sword when I didn’t know how to use its power? Despair and rage controlled me. The air warmed and the tingling sensation in my hand burned hotter, until I was holding unadulterated power, however impossible it seemed. Wind whooshed through the room, strong enough to ruffle hair and clothes.
I closed my fists when orange light burst from my palms like a birth of the first pure light. On the ground, Caliburn began to rattle. Anticipation choked off my breath. Everyone stared and backed away. Then the blade flared with lustrous silver and soared into my hands like a bird flying home.
Author Mary Ting
About the Author Born in Seoul, Korea, author Mary Ting is an international bestselling, multi-gold award winning author. Her books span a wide range of genres, and her storytelling talents have earned a devoted legion of fans, as well as garnered critical praise. She is a diverse voice who writes diverse characters, often dealing with a catastrophic world.
Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.
Synopsis Four sisters in hiding. A grand duchess in disguise. Dark family secrets revealed…an alternate future for the Romanov sisters from Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar and The Lost Season of Love and Snow.
With her parents and brother missing and presumed dead, Grand Duchess Olga Romanova must keep her younger sisters safe. The Bolsheviks are determined to eliminate any remaining holdovers from the tsarist regime, hunting down the last Romanovs and putting them to death. Now living in England, the Romanov sisters remain hidden to protect their identities, even as isolation strains their relationships.
But they can’t distance themselves from the world forever.
Olga learns that a peer of the realm has accused the late Empress Alexandra of betraying Russia and her allies during the Great War. Under the spell of the scheming Grigori Rasputin, Alexandra disclosed military secrets to the enemy and pursued a separate peace with Germany. If this rumor becomes history, it will destroy her mother’s legacy and her sisters’ futures.
Disguised as “Olivia,” a wartime nurse turned maid, Olga accepts a position in Lord Hammond’s household. There, she works to discover the truth about her mother. When Olga meets his lordship’s heir—an alluring, enigmatic war veteran—her situation grows even more precarious. Could she fall for the son of her new enemy? As she learns more about the tragedies of his past, Olga realizes the connection between their families is more complicated than it appears.
Excerpt: August 1918
The fugitive lay on her back, bruised limbs pressed flat, hidden alongside her sisters underneath a mound of coarse blankets. As the ambulance rumbled to a halt, gasoline fumes flooded the rear compartment, masking the heavy odor of their unwashed bodies. Her breathing grew labored. She didn’t know where they were or who had stopped them. She only knew they must not make a sound.
Over the past weeks, they moved slowly through land held by the Bolsheviks. Every evening at dusk, they ate carefully rationed portions of tinned meat and dry wafers while their two saviors—agents from England with forged papers identifying them as officers of the Red Guard—checked the radio transmitter for word of Allied progress toward the northern ports along the White Sea. Then, during the scant hours of darkness afforded by the short summer nights, they traveled a tortuous course to avoid military checkpoints.
Bundled in tattered sweaters, Olga and her three sisters were gaunt. Their neglected hair hung limp about their shoulders. But their faces once adorned postcards, calendars, and boxes of fancy chocolates. If detained, they would be recognized at once.
The missing daughters of the tsar.
Anastasia’s warm body pressed closer, trembling as she tensed her jaw and tried to stifle a cough.
A terrifying scenario unfolded in Olga’s mind. Thick boots pounded on the roadway before soldiers with red stars tacked to their lapels tossed the blankets aside and dragged Olga and her sisters back into the hellish world they’d been so desperate to escape. What if this journey had been for nothing? Worse than nothing because they had left their parents and sick little brother, Alexei, behind.
Olga was twenty-two years old and the eldest. It fell on her to get them through this nightmare, no matter the outcome.
She felt around until she located her youngest sister’s hand. She held it tight, flinching at the hard calluses and pus leaking from an erupted blister on the pad of Anastasia’s thumb.
Deep masculine voices, muddled and indistinct, rumbled outside. The fingers of Olga’s free hand balled into fists, rage displacing fear. The Bolsheviks may have stolen everything she held dear, but Olga would confront them as a true Romanov. Unbroken. When they raised their revolvers, she would hold her head high and ensure her face haunted these traitors for the rest of their lives.
The back door of the old field ambulance creaked open. Tentatively, Olga drew the blanket down. After hours of near-darkness, sunlight momentarily blurred her vision. When Olga released Anastasia’s hand and sat upright, a cool breeze caressed her forehead.
Before her stood a broad-shouldered gentleman of about fifty, with black brows, a full beard flecked with gray, and brown eyes behind wire-framed spectacles. The man wore a khaki tunic, as Papa had during the war. The coat’s golden buttons and belt buckle gleamed in the morning sun.
“Your imperial highness.” The gentleman removed his hat and bowed his head. He had spoken in English. She assumed he was the commanding officer. A half-dozen other men stood behind him, each dressed in the same khaki uniform. Some rose on tip-toe to get a closer look at Olga.
None bore a red star on his lapel.
Her sisters emerged from under the blankets. They pressed her shoulders, exhalations warm on the back of her neck.
“I think he’s in charge.” Tatiana, the second eldest, whispered in Olga’s ear. “And waiting for you to speak first.”
A spark of hope ignited in her heart, yet Olga didn’t trust these strangers. It had been far too long since anyone outside her family had shown her kindness or respect. For months, they had been kept under constant watch: shoved about, subjected to barking orders and humiliating whims, and made to feel they clung to life by the thinnest of threads. Olga remembered the defeated expression on her little brother’s face when she’d said goodbye for the last time. Even her once proud father bent under the weight of captivity.
Their saviors, the two men who had rescued them from that nightmare, rounded the vehicle and walked toward the soldiers, broad smiles brightening their ruddy faces.
And then the words fell from Olga’s tongue easily, as Mama had always preferred to speak English with her family. “We are here then? We’ve made it to British soil?”
“We have delivered you to Arkhangelsk. From here, you will be transported to your new home.” “We are in your debt, sir.”
Olga waited because she knew he would say more. There had to be more. While they had been rescued, their parents and brother remained imprisoned in Ekaterinburg, along with a handful of loyal servants.
“You will return for the others, won’t you?” she said, heart thumping. “My family. Our doctor. My mother’s maid. You must promise.”
The officer held her gaze. “The Bolsheviks fortified their defenses around the city’s perimeter. We can’t send our agents back to the house.”
Faced with those terrible words, Olga couldn’t bring herself to ask anything else. Couldn’t bear to hear it was too late. Her stomach churned, but she must not break. Not here. Not yet. As the eldest, she needed to stay strong. For her sisters.
When Olga said nothing more, the officer turned back to his men. Three soldiers joined him, lining up before her sisters to help them out of the ambulance.
“I know you are in pain,” the officer told her. “Remember that you and your sisters are safe. You survived. And we have done everything in our power to find a secure place for you. I promise.”
Author Jennifer Laam
About the Author An avid history nerd, Jennifer currently lives in California with a spoiled tabby cat named Jonesy. When not reading or writing, she enjoys planning cosplay for the next San Diego Comic-Con, experimenting with vegetarian recipes (to mixed results), and obsessing over House Targaryen or Baby Yoda.
Welcome to the book blitz for CASTELON, the third book in the young adult fantasy series, The Wraithwood Trilogy, by Alyssa Roat. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CASTELON (The Wraithwood Trilogy #3) by Alyssa Roat
Fifteen hundred years of Arthurian legend come to a head in the final installment of The Wraithwood Trilogy.
The sword of legend, ancient magic, and a dead man’s secrets-together they could save Brinnie’s world or end it forever.
Brinnie barely escaped Mordizan with her life. Battered and broken in body and soul, she knows she’s running out of time. And though she has discovered the identity of Mordred’s bane, no one knows where to find the legendary weapon.
To discover the truth, she and Marcus must journey to Castelon and seek the aid of the Council. However, their actions at Mordizan brand them as enemies and war criminals. Between Mordred’s armies engaged in full-scale war and the political machinations of the Council, Brinnie struggles to balance the battlefield and the courtroom while estates fall before Mordred’s wrath.
As magic ravages her own body, threatening her survival, the allure of ancient, forbidden power grows brighter. And only one man holds the knowledge of the weapon that could destroy Mordred once and for all-a man they buried in the gardens of Wraithwood.
Excerpt #2 Nathan blazed a trail to a pair of carved wood doors and turned the brass handle on the left, pushing the door inward. “After you.”
She stepped inside, the smell of leather and old books wrapping around her. In the center of the room, an ostentatious solid wood desk shone in front of a massive hearth, over which hung a painted portrait of what appeared to be Scott Castelius and family, his children with their spouses and children. Shelves lined the walls, with free-standing bookcases making up a couple of rows on either side, most of the books beautifully bound, many accented with what appeared to be gold leaf.
She spun slowly. “These are beautiful, but they don’t strike me as books about dark magic.”
“Oh, these aren’t.” He strode past her, heading for the wide stone hearth behind the desk. He walked right in, ducking only slightly, turned to the right, and was gone.
Brinnie’s eyebrows shot up. She followed, peeking around the corner of the fireplace. Beyond the initial line of stones, a tunnel led back several feet.
They emerged from the tunnel into what felt more like an archive than the display library in front. Old books and scrolls were carefully labeled on well-organized shelves.
Nathan headed straight to the back of the room and gestured to one of the bookshelves that housed both scrolls and tomes. “These might help.”
She gathered her skirts to better navigate the narrow rows. She leaned toward the shelf he had suggested, squinting at the labels, all in the ancient language.
She took a deep breath and rubbed her eyes. If magic allowed her to speak and understand the language, it should help her read it as well.
She opened her eyes and squinted at the lettering. Mental translation felt unwieldy, like reading her high school Spanish books, but she could understand enough.
One word stood out—dywledrith. Dark magic.
“Thank you, Nathan. These should be quite helpful.”
The one type of magic even Mordred wouldn’t touch. Which meant he would be powerless against it.
About the Author Alyssa Roat has worked in a wide variety of roles within the publishing industry as an agent, editor, writer, and publicist. She is the managing editor at Mountain Brook Fire. She has held positions as the publicity manager for publisher Mountain Brook Ink, an associate literary agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, an editor with Sherpa Editing Services, and a freelance writer with hundreds of bylines in local, national, and international publications. She holds a B.S. in Professional Writing from Taylor University. She would love to connect on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well @alyssawrote.
Welcome to the blog tour for SHADOWS OF NIGHTSHADE, the first book in the young adult paranormal series, The Garden of Eternal Flowers, by Lyla Oweds. See below for information on the book, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SHADOWS OF NIGHTSHADE (The Garden of Eternal Flowers Series #1) by Lyla Oweds
Synopsis I dream of a time where I was warm, safe, and loved.
But my waking reality is starkly different.
Anxiety plagues me and spirits haunt the shadows. No matter how fast I run, I can’t seem to escape my past.
The only solace and steady force in my life is my best friend, Finn.
And now… there’s a ghost haunting me. And I’m not certain if it wants help or if it wants to kill me. There’s only one person who can understand: Finn’s brother, Damen.
However, in reaching out, I’m betraying Finn and setting things into motion that cannot be undone.
But nobody ever said that doing the right thing was easy.
The Garden of Eternal Flowers is a re-envisioning of my Grimm Cases series. Eternal Flowers has taken my original vision of Bianca’s story and transformed it into something new and beautiful. Some chapters are similar, and some dialogue is the same, as The Grimm Cases, Origins, but overall, about 75% of the book has been entirely revisioned with new plot points, mystery, and interpersonal relationships. Also, unlike Origins (originally a Wattpad release), there is now a clear beginning, climax, and conclusion in each individual novel, which allows them to be read alone or as part of the ongoing series.
I hope that you will enjoy Shadows of Nightshade as much as I enjoyed writing it. Truly, it is an honor to write about Bianca and her boys, and all of these characters are near and dear to my heart.
Trigger Warning: This series deals with the aftermath of severe childhood trauma.
Excerpt #3 “It’s nothing,” Miles muttered. “Just… ghosts.”
“Oh.” That was it? Did he not like ghosts? But did he not realize that ghosts were everywhere?
Although, to be fair, I did not like to be around most people. And they were everywhere too. I, too, was exhausted from the overstimulation.
I could relate.
“Don’t worry.” I squeezed his hand. “We can work together. Okay?”
Miles slowed down, and my chest tightened as the rude nature of my question hit.
“I-I don’t want you to do everything for me!” I clarified. “It’s… I thought, maybe if we worked together, we could get finished faster.” His expression remained unchanged, and I added, almost begrudgingly. “I’ll give you some money, obviously.”
It made sense, if both of us were doing the job, we should share the profit.
His nose wrinkled in distaste. “I’m not going to take your money.”
“But…” I’d been keeping track of their spending and was working out a payment plan with interest. “I already owe you—”
“I’m not taking any money from you,” Miles interrupted. “Ever. Do you understand?”
“Okay.” I understood that he believed this, but who knew what the future held? Where there was a will, there’s a way.
Miles narrowed his eyes. “Why do I feel you don’t actually understand?”
“I don’t know,” I answered. How was I supposed to know how his mind worked? Only he could answer that question. “Why do you feel that?”
I was somewhat curious to know.
He looked at me before his shoulders slumped and he sighed. “I’m too tired to think.”
He was kind of cute, all disheveled and confused. When he was this vulnerable, it was easy to ignore the rest of the world and focus on him. His arm brushed against mine, and my heart began to beat a little faster.
There was something horrifying beginning to curl in my stomach.
I could never let him know. Even acknowledging such feelings was unsafe.
Author Lyla Oweds
About the Author Lyla Oweds is a paranormal / urban fantasy author who resides in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania with her husband, children, and animals. While she enjoys all genres of fiction, she has a deep appreciation for fantasy, romance, mystery, crime, and horror. Lyla has a bachelor’s in anthropology and will be completing her master’s in information technology in 2023.
Writing is her moonlighting passion, and she loves having the opportunity to share her perspective as a disabled (profoundly hard of hearing) woman. During the daylight hours, Lyla works as a principal / lead design and development specialist focusing on user experience and accessibility. When not working, Lyla is usually indulging in one of her many hobbies such as amusing her children, gardening, crocheting, interior decorating, baking, cooking, or playing video games..
Welcome to the book blitz for EVERY BIT A COWBOY, the fifth book in the adult contemporary romance series, Creedence Horse Rescue, by USA Today bestselling author, Jennie Marts. See below for information on the book and series, and exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
EVERY BIT A COWBOY (Creedence Horse Rescue Series #5) by Jennie Marts
Synopsis “Filled with humor, heart and real love.” —Michelle Major, USA Today bestselling author
USA Today bestselling author Jennie Marts proves there’s nothing quite like a cowboy.
No matter how swoony the cute cowboy is, romance is the last thing on Carley Chapman’s mind. But it’s hard to ignore Knox Garrison and the spark of attraction she feels every time he’s near. When a water line break floods her building, she’s forced to move her salon out to the Heaven Can Wait Horse Rescue ranch, and Knox shows up to help. But things get even more complicated when Carley’s no-good ex comes sniffing around and Knox “fixes” the problem by telling him they’re engaged…
Praise for Jennie Marts’s cowboy romances:
“Funny, complicated, and irresistible. Sometimes a cowboy isn’t perfect but you got to love him anyway.”— JODI THOMAS, New York Times bestselling author, for Caught Up in a Cowboy
“Full of hope, humor, and undeniable swoon.”— A.J. PINE, USA Today bestselling author, for How to Cowboy
“Deliciously steamy but still sweet, with a secret at its heart.”— JOANNE KENNEDY, award-winning author, for Wish Upon a Cowboy
Excerpt #2 He gently pulled her into his arms then tenderly smoothed the spot on her forehead. “You can trust me you know.” He spoke softly, saying the exact words she ached to hear.
She didn’t need platitudes or stupid pet names. She needed a man she could trust.
She fought against the emotions building in her as she stared into his gorgeous brown eyes, so full of care and conviction. “I do trust you,” she whispered then lowered her gaze. “Just not with my heart.”
About the Author Jennie Marts is the USA TODAY Best-selling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. Readers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and the “perfect mix of romance, humor, and steam.” Fic Central claimed one of her books was “the most fun I’ve had reading in years.”
She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies. She’s addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes, or friends.
Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/ cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, the hunky hockey-playing men in the Bannister family in the Bannister Brothers Books, and the small-town romantic comedies in the Lovestruck series of Cotton Creek Romances.
Jennie loves to hear from readers. Follow her on Facebook at Jennie Marts Books, or Twitter at @JennieMarts. Visit her at www.jenniemarts.com and sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest news and releases.
Welcome to the book blitz for CAPTURED SECRETS, the first book in the adult contemporary western romance series, Seven Tine Ranch, by Carmen Peone. See below for information on the book, and exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CAPTURED SECRETS (Seven Tine Ranch Romance Series #1) by Carmen Peone
Synopsis “Brimming with suspense and adventure, Captured Secrets, is a love story I’ll not soon forget. An engrossing tale with all the twists and turns that make a contemporary Western so hard to put down.” Debra Whiting Alexander, award-winning author of Zetty
After her parents die in a horrific car accident, Sydney Moomaw is thrust into running their guest ranch in eastern Washington. She soon discovers that her parents were keeping secrets. Why is the ranch in serious debt? Why did her parents allow the insurance to lapse? Why didn’t they tell her about it? And where are their wills? Sydney needs to figure out a way to save the ranch she loves before her sister sells it.
Photographer Trey Hardy arrives at the ranch the same day Sydney’s parents are killed. His working-vacation plans change when he decides to help Sydney save her ranch. But, his offers to help are met with resistance. Her stubbornness and independence are both maddening and alluring.
Amid the tangle of finances, tensions with her sister, and her own grief and anger, Sydney begins receiving threatening notes. They must be from her abusive ex-husband, but he’s in jail. Isn’t he? When a teenager appears at the ranch insisting she is Sydney’s daughter, Sydney finally realizes she’s going to have to start trusting people to help her. Will Trey’s plan work? Can they save her beloved ranch? Can she really have the life she’s dreamed of?
Excerpt #3 Sydney found Trey resting under the shade of a ponderosa pine tree near the mare and foal pen. She rode one horse and led a second. “Wanna take a ride?” She leaned back and padded her bulging saddle bags. “I have a picnic.”
“Your talk with Glenda must have gone well.”
“Something like that.”
“Where we going?”
Trying to keep her composure, she said, “Somewhere special.”
Trey took the reins that were attached to a blue roan with the Seven Tine brand on its rump and mounted.
Shade and cool air from towering trees and valleys, wildflower’s Sweet aromas, streams trickling over rock beds surrounded them on the north pasture, and he became more enamored with the setting the longer they rode.
Sydney led him to a cool spot in a copse of aspen by a creek. She dismounted, then pulled out two sacks and a thermos from the worn saddlebags. After finding a nice patch of green grass, she arranged cheese, crackers, and apple slices on the bags and poured two tin cups of iced tea, handing him one of them.
“Trying to butter me up for something?” He winked at her, then took a drink.
“No.” Her face warmed as she gave him a sassy sideways glance. “Maybe a little.”
“This is one of my favorite spots. I come here to think.” She gestured to the food. “Dig in.”
Trey put a slice of cheese on a cracker. “I’d like to bring the stud colts here, a couple at a time, and take photos for the website.”
She looked around and pointed to a backdrop of aspen and rock bluffs. “Over there’d be a nice spot.”
“It sure would.” He ate the cracker and took a sip of tea. “Why did you bring me here?”
Oh. Why? She held her hands in her lap so he couldn’t see them shaking. “Um.” Do I tell him straight out, or should I ease him into it? “I thought you’d like this spot for taking pictures.”
He set his cup on the grass. “This isn’t about horses, is it?”
Of course it wasn’t. Here goes nothing. “I’ve considered your offer.”
Author Carmen Peone
About the Author Carmen Peone is an award-winning author who has lived in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988. She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions. She owns and trains her horses and competes in local Extreme Challenge and Mountain Trail competitions. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. With the love of history and western-woman lifestyle, she brings stories of hope, family, relationships, and faith to her novels.
These books were a labor of love, especially the second edition of the True to Heart Trilogy.
Thank you to my cover model, Shayna Palmanteer of the Colville Confederated Tribes, for your willingness to be a part of this adventure. Visit my website for information on the workbooks that go along with my young adult books at https://carmenpeone.com/books/..
No one is safe. Not when the Dollmaker lurks in the shadows.
When Dawn Hildegard’s best friend Rose is kidnapped by “The Dollmaker,” a crazed serial killer who creates “art” from women’s bodies, she drops everything to find her—including her dream of becoming a doctor. With the help of a handsome new acquaintance and his mysterious brother, they set off to find the killer. Although they quickly become friends, Dawn cannot shake the uneasy feeling that the brothers know more about the murders than they admit.
As more and more victims are found murdered and displayed throughout town, Dawn must use her wits to find Rose before it’s too late. And before she too becomes the Dollmaker’s next victim.
Excerpt: He slowly began to pace in front of her, his shaded head tipped in thought. His legs were long in the dark, though he wasn’t much taller than her. Bits of slanted light streamed in from the floorboards above them, highlighting the divots of his face. She still couldn’t see him clearly.
“I’ve never had anyone find me before,” he said. “And I take pride in the fact that no one does. I lead a quiet life, and uninterrupted life, and now… you’ve interrupted it.”
He paused, facing her head on. He was nothing more than a shadow in front of her.
She held still, silent. If he was The Dollmaker, she didn’t want to make him upset. He hadn’t killed her yet, but maybe he liked to toy with his prey before he slaughtered them.
“I won’t tell anyone about you,” she choked out. “Just let me go.”
He let out a bitter laugh. “And why should I believe you?”
“Why are you trying to stay hidden?”
Both of their questions hung in the air.
He started pacing again. Her heart was hammering its way up into her throat, she could barely breathe. She edged back a step. His head snapped up and he sprung forward once more.
He gripped her upper arm and began to drag her into the dark, away from the orchestra pit. She struggled against him, trying to rip out of his embrace, but his hold was concrete. He led her through a dark hallway that slanted upward at an incline, until the hallway stopped at a dead end.
A door towered in front of above them. She still couldn’t see his face.
He moved in close, yanking her up against him, until she felt his breath on her cheek. “If you tell anyone about me—anyone at all—I will know. And if you do, there will be consequences greater than you can imagine. Death will follow, I can assure you that.”
Author Morgan Shamy
About the Author Morgan Shamy is an ex-ballerina turned YA writer. She has been immersed in the arts since the young age of 4, where she performed various roles alongside a professional ballet company for over seven years, and has danced on prestigious stages like soloing at Carnegie Hall in New York City. She has taught hundreds of girls in her fifteen years of teaching, where some of her students have received full-ride scholarships to schools like School of American Ballet, the Harid Conservatory, Kirov Academy of Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, to name a few.
Morgan discovered writing when her three-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer. It was through that experience which instilled the need to share art and magic with children through words on the page.
Morgan is also an accomplished concert pianist. She was the first girl in Utah to receive the 75 pt. Gold Cup in the Utah Federation of Music in piano solo/concerto competition. Morgan currently lives with her X-Games gold-medalist husband and four children in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE NEW SINGLE DAD BILLIONAIRE, the fifth book in the adult contemporary romance/romantic comedy series, Bronson Billionaire Romance, by Tina Gabor. See below for information on the book and series, and exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE NEW SINGLE DAD BILLIONAIRE (Bronson Billionaire Romance Series #5) by Tina Gabor
About the Book – FREE for a limited time!
Title: THE NEW SINGLE DAD BILLIONAIRE Series: Bronson Billionaire Romance Series #5 Author: Tina Gabor Publisher: Sparks Fly Romance Release Date: February 28, 2023 Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance / Romantic Comedy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT
Synopsis Tyler Bronson’s hot dating app eMingle just went public, but despite his success at finding matches for other people he’s still single.
His on and off relationship with his unstable ex has finally stayed off that is until he finds out he has a son.
Now, he’s not just a new billionaire. He’s a new single dad. And he has no time for love until …
Tyler She took a step to steady herself and tripped on my foot. I grabbed her before she fell onto the coffee table.
“Whoops!” I said. “Are you okay?”
I had my arms around her to keep her from falling, her shoulder leaned against my chest. She turned toward me and looked up. Her long eyelashes blinking.
“Nice catch,” she said, her voice a sexy whisper. The feeling of one of her tits pushed against me along with that voice and that look made my cock stir.
This girl was effortlessly sexy.
She put her hands on my arms to regain her footing and giggled. “So big. And hard,” she said, running her hands on my biceps.
She was drunk, but damn. This girl was killing me.
“Let’s check out that view,” she said, tottering over to the sliding glass doors.
I stayed close to make sure she didn’t stumble again.
We stepped out onto the balcony, and I slid the glass door shut behind us. She swayed on her feet, and I put my hand on her back to steady her. “Easy, easy.”
She’d only had two glasses of champagne, and she was already tipsy. Cute, but dangerous.
She giggled. “We’re up so high!”
“Have you been to New York before?”
“I’ve barely been anywhere,” she said. “This is amazing.”
I looked down at her as she stared at the New York skyline. She let her head rest against me. A warm summer breeze blew across my face. A giddy feeling shivered through my body. I’d only had one glass of champagne, and I weighed over two hundred pounds. I couldn’t be drunk, could I? Maybe it was the drink and the sugar from the dessert. I rarely ate it.
But I doubted that was the reason. This fluttery feeling in my chest was because of Betty.
I leaned down to kiss the top of her head and stopped myself. This wasn’t a date. This was my nanny.
About the Author Are you like me? Do you enjoy funny, contemporary romances with spicy love scenes? Because if you do …You’ve landed in the perfect place.
I’m Tina Gabor, and it’s so much fun getting to write the books I love reading. Gorgeous men and fierce, feisty, and funny women are my jam. And since there’s nothing like a love story with a dash of sun and fun … I set most of my in Southern California and Florida. I grew up in South Florida, and now I live in Southern California with my fiancee and a stray cat we named Fred.
To get special deals on new releases and updates on what your favorite book couples are doing after the story ends, go to SparksFlyRomance.com/Tina
Welcome to the book blitz for SAPPHIRE EYES, the second book in the adult romantic suspense series, The Red Club, by Aurelia Yates. See below for information on the book and series, and exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SAPPHIRE EYES (The Red Club Series #2) by Aurelia Yates
Synopsis Innocent, doe-eyed Rose is living the life in New York, interning at the largest law firm in Manhattan with a year left in law school. That is, until her parents tell her they can’t afford to continue paying her tuition. While she’s stressed over how she’ll make ends meet and finish her degree, her friend tells her a secret she’s kept hidden—that she works at a strip club with many rich, good-looking men as her customers.
Rose enters Club Red, looking only for a waitressing position, but what she finds ends up being so much more.
A large man with blond hair and the most hypnotizing sapphire-blue eyes, Blaze wants to put Rose into positions that have nothing to do with serving anything or anyone but him. And he will not stop pursuing her until he makes the darling Rose his.
Excerpt #1 Trying to gather my nerves, I walk up to the door. It’s large, and it looks to be made out of steel. I try to turn the handle, but it’s locked. I knock twice, waiting for someone to answer the door. I take in the surroundings. If it wasn’t for the flashy cars in the front of the building, it would appear to be an abandoned building.
When the door swings open, a very large man with blond hair, and the most hypnotizing blue eyes stands in the doorway. I take a step back. To say he intimidates me is an understatement.
He’s wearing a cobalt-blue dress shirt, rolled up on his forearms. The color makes his sapphire eyes shine bright. I take in his body. The rippling muscles on his arms, the strong jawline he possesses, and the tattoos that crawl up under the sleeves of his shirt and peek out of his collar. The man screams badass.
He scans me from the toe of my shoes to the top of my head, and when his eyes come back to meet mine, he gives me a wicked grin. He has to be the most breathtaking man. I have had the pleasure of sharing the same space with.
I’m barely able to get the words out. “I’m here to see Liz Black.”
His tongue darts out, licking his lips, and then his teeth slowly pull in his bottom lip. I try my best not to seem effected by his good looks, but it appears the cocky bastard notices how much he has affected me. My attention is tuned in to how long and thick his tongue is. Holy Mother Teresa, my mind is in overdrive as to what he could do with that weapon.
About the Author Aurelia writes contemporary romance and enjoys reading it just as much! She lives in Alabama with her husband, daughter and fur babies. She spends most of her time taking care of her loved ones and plotting stories. Excited to begin this new journey, she’s looking forward to sharing her stories.
Welcome to the book blitz for MAGGIE’S MARK, the first book in the adult romantic suspense series, Ceiba Cartel, by Michelle Cornish. See below for information on the book and series, and exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
MAGGIE’S MARK (Ceiba Cartel Series #1) by Michelle Cornish
The CIA told me to hunt him down. Instead, I fell in love with him.
It’s 1987 and CIA officer Maggie Barnes has the opportunity of her life—take down Ricardo Ceiba Colombia’s most prominent drug lord.
But the more Maggie learns about Ricardo and the deeper she goes undercover, the more she sees Ricardo for who he really is. Her mission becomes an impossible choice—take down the man she loves or betray her country.
Excerpt #2 In front of them was the lush jungle, where the shooting had come from the night of the party, but Ricardo led her to the right. A six-foot wooden gate blocked their path. Ricardo pushed it open with such gusto Maggie thought it might come right off the hinges.
“Care for a swim?”
He left the gate open as he stepped closer to the pool. It was a simple lap pool—no diving board—but the turquoise water took Maggie’s breath away. Sand-colored paving stones edged up to the pool and the relaxing sounds of a water feature along the far wall threatened to overtake the piano music coming from inside.
The sun had already set by the time Maggie had arrived for dinner, but the lights around the pool were all they needed. Of course, she wasn’t planning on swimming any laps.
Ricardo unbuttoned his short-sleeved shirt, took it off, and placed it on a lounge chair nearby. Two towels were neatly folded on the chair as if he’d planned this the whole time.
She bit her lip as he pulled her close. Her whole body tingled when he kissed her neck and slowly worked his way to her lips. She closed her eyes and savored every moment. When he pulled her top over her head, she thanked God she hadn’t worn a wire. Did the bug on the balcony have enough range that the team in the apartment would hear them? She pushed the thought out of her head. At this point, she didn’t care.
Ricardo lightly caressed her shoulder, and she dragged her fingers down his jaw line, his dark five o’clock shadow rough to her touch.
As he tugged off his pants, she reached behind her back and undid her bra, shaking it off and letting it fall to the ground at the same time as Ricardo’s pants. To her surprise, he wasn’t wearing underwear.
“Ay,” said Ricardo, running a hand along her hip. She placed his hand on her breast, letting him know she wanted him to touch all of her. He trailed a finger along the side of her nipple, causing it to double in size.
She let her head fall back and stretched her arms out, and he pulled her close. The hard bulge of his erection pressed into her hip as they kissed again. Her groin throbbed, and she paused to take off her skirt. Ricardo strolled to the pool then sat on the stonework, dangling his legs in the water.
He cringed. “Wow. That’s a little cold.”
Maggie laughed. Instead of joining him at the edge of the pool, she slipped her naked body into the waist-high water and stood in front of him. She took a deep breath as her body adjusted to the cool temperature of the water, then placed her hands on his thighs. He tilted her chin upward with his fingertip and bent his head to press his lips to hers. They were full and soft, and Maggie forgot all about the cold water.
About the Author Michelle strives to write the kinds of books she enjoys reading–complicated characters, a little romance, and a lot of mystery and intrigue. Strong women in sticky situations is her specialty!
Welcome to the book blitz for SECOND TIME AROUND, the first book in the adult contemporary romance series, Willow Bay, by Kelly Collins. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway. Between now and February 20, you can get the eBook for free!
SECOND TIME AROUND (Willow Bay Series #1) by Kelly Collins
A swoon-worthy second chance romance with all the feels.
Brie Watkins had loved two men in her life. One abandoned her at the altar twelve years ago, and the other died in the war. She is no stranger to loss, but she’s still learning how to move on. When her sick aunt asks her to come back to Willow Bay to help at the family resort, Brie says yes. After all, she’s a southern girl at heart, and a southern girl never turns her back on kin. Brie sells her beloved home, quits her job restoring historic properties, and goes back to the last place she wants to be, only to find her aunt healthy, The Brown Resort thriving, and the man who left her at the altar living next door, looking as handsome as ever. Why can’t life be fair?
Carpenter Carter Kessler left Willow Bay a dozen years ago and never looked back, but he never forgot his first love, Brie. He’s spent the rest of his life regretting his decision to leave her all those years ago. After his father’s death, he reluctantly returns to find his family’s resort a mess. But it is not a total disaster – Brie is next door and as beautiful as ever. He talks her into helping him refurbish The Kessler Resort, but first she lays out the ground rules: they aren’t friends, they’ll never be lovers, and she’ll never stop hating him. As far as Carter is concerned, it’s a start.
But as summer heats up, so does their relationship. As they peel back the layers, what will they find hiding beneath the surface? Can what they started all those years ago be restored, or are some things better left buried in the past?
Find out in The Second Time Around…
Excerpt #2 She ran to her bungalow, yelling, “I’ll beat you to the buoy, Carter Kessler. You’ll see.” She threw open her door, and it bounced off the wall and nearly coldcocked her, but she sidestepped, and it slammed shut. “Game on, Carter. You are going to regret a lot of things. The first is leaving me twelve years ago. The second is challenging me to swim to the buoy because I’m fierce. Mark my words, you will most definitely regret hiring Margot Kincaid. That girl was once the bane of my existence, and I’ll be darned if she’s going to be a bee in my bonnet now.”
Brie opened a drawer and rummaged through her things to find the teeniest, tiniest bikini she owned. If Carter thought he’d only had eyes for her in high school, let him see her in this.
He was waiting for her on the end of his dock. She strolled toward him, exaggerating the sway of her hips. Was she too thin? Probably, but that didn’t stop him from gawking at her and then glaring at the men who followed her with their eyes as she went by.
“This isn’t a nudist beach,” he said.
“I’m wearing a bathing suit.”
“I think you forgot to put it on. What you’re wearing is more like floss and Band-Aids.” He stood behind her like a wall, blocking anyone’s view. “Let’s go.” He pushed her into the water.
She came up sputtering. “Why would you do that?”
“You looked cold standing here in the nude.”
She trod water. “You’re jealous.”
“About as jealous as you are of Margot.” He dove in, and when he broke the surface, he said, “Go.”
He was a body length ahead of her before she realized the race had begun. There was little chance of her winning, but she had a feeling her competition with Carter had just started. Was it more important to win the battle or the war, and what was she fighting for?
She chased him to the buoy and back. When she reached the dock, he was there, leaning down and holding out a hand to help her up, lifting her like she weighed nothing. He wrapped her in the towel and a hug.
“Good job.” He rubbed his hands over the towel, helping dry her off, as he had all those years ago. She melted into him for a second but caught herself and stepped back. It would be so easy to fall into a time when life was easy, when summer break meant sleeping in until ten, and nights were spent sneaking kisses under the old willow tree.
He stepped aside to reveal a candlelit table. “Just to be clear, I didn’t set this up.”
Tilly was peeking around the resort’s welcome sign. “I can see the culprit. She’s about five-foot-five and makes the best apple strudel known to man.” She lifted her nose. “And if my senses haven’t misled me, I think she’s made her famous schnitzel with spätzle.”
He pulled out a chair. “Will you have dinner with me? You can hate me again tomorrow.”
She sat. “I don’t hate you, Carter.” I just can’t let myself fall in love with you again.
About the Author Like FREEBIES? Join the VIP readers at http://bit.ly/KellyCollinsFreeBook for members-only exclusives!
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International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.
Kelly has sold more than a quarter of a million books worldwide, and in 2021 she was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Award Gold Medal in the Contemporary Romance category for A Tablespoon of Temptation.
Welcome to the blog tour for THE MATCHMAKER’S ROYAL MESS, the first book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, The First Three Dates Matchmakers, by Frieda J. Downing. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE MATCHMAKER’S ROYAL MESS (The First Three Dates Matchmakers Series #1) by Frieda J. Downing
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: THE MATCHMAKER’S ROYAL MESS Series: The First Three Dates Matchmakers Series #1 Author:Frieda J. Downing Publisher: Pinkies High Publishing Release Date: November 22, 2022
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR
Synopsis She’d rather give a mountain lion a bikini wax than mess with love again.
Been there, went viral, never going back. Hattie Montague’s life as a backcountry guide for the spoiled and famous suits her just fine, thanks. It’s the only place she feels completely safe being herself. So what if she has nightmares that she can only speak squirrel and craves pine cones for breakfast? It beats leaving yourself vulnerable to humans. Fine, all of them aren’t bad. She likes probably three, so when one needs her help, she drags herself back to civilization. If she can navigate white water rapids, she can babysit a matchmaking office for a weekend. It’s not like she’ll have to deal with people or, you know, be nice. Ew.
Alexander Greye ruined her life ten years ago. Not his proudest moment. Known as the Winter Warlocke, he’s a man born and raised to lead a country with logical precision. Yet around her, he can’t seem to think rationally. He’s never met anyone who dives into the unknown like she does or tames chaos like she can. In a world as perfectly controlled as his, that makes her irresistible and utterly dangerous. And he’s willing to risk it all to thaw his frozen heart.
It’s half past too late when he realizes his carefully laid plans to win her over covered everything except the theft of the Crown Jewels, an abandoned mine where they’d have to face their deepest fears, and the betrayal that forces them to let go.Quite literally.
Warning: Not for the faint of heart. Sassy romantic adventure, with instances of chaos, misunderstandings, and feels. Oh, and the occasional sheep. Sparks will fly, it’s gonna get awkward, and the Happily-Ever-After will be well-earned.
Excerpt Since the office doesn’t have a bathtub, I get resourceful. The closet, unfortunately, is a disaster of pillow guts and shelving covered in sheep-sized bite marks. No one would confuse me for a sheep expert, but I always thought it was goats that chewed everything to pieces. Maybe Calambity is part goat. Thankfully, the blue pillow tub is in one piece.
I carry it to the kitchenette and place it on the tile next to the sink. Once I have it situated, I pull the large plastic dustpan off the broom and place the wide bit under the faucet of the tiny sink with the narrow handle hanging off the side. When I crank the hot water, I watch the makeshift waterfall begin to fill my soon-to-be luxurious bath. I shut the curtains in Zoe’s office, then lay out the single towel I had packed. After I strip down, I test the water one more time. A quick soak to freshen up, then I’ll curl up with my pizza and catch up on some Netflix until CataXanderclysm shows.
I snort, rather pleased with myself for that one, then put some tunes on my phone. A summery, reggae sounding track fills the office. With arms overhead, I dance over to Zoe’s desk and snag the bath bomb I found earlier when I was looking for printer ink. Since Zoe said help yourself to anything, I’m doing just that. I’ll replace it tomorrow, along with everything else.
At long last, I get the thin, clingy plastic off the blue ball and, lifting it in a toast to the peace and quiet, I ease myself into the oversized bucket. If I were a tall girl, this could’ve been problematic. As it is, I have to bend my legs all the way for them to fit. It mostly works; only my knees poke out of the water. Despite that, it’s pure bliss. I drop the bright bath bomb in with a satisfying bloop. Tiny bubbles escape and an indigo cloud disperses. To my delight, it also appears to be a low-powered bubble bath. It doesn’t produce heaping mounds of fluff, but it’s enough to cover the surface with bluish white foam and fill my nose with the tantalizing fragrance of cupcakes. I close my eyes, inhale, and settle in as far as my coiled up appendages will let me. I savor the warmth and scent as they wrap around me. Since I don’t know the upbeat song playing, I make up words so I can sing along my way.
I can feel my hair still sticking up in all directions, so I tip first to one side, then the other to wet it down. However, I can’t get the middle strip, so I take a scoop of bubbles and form the remaining dry hair into a floppy fauxhawk. After that, I splash some of the scented water across my face. In the midst of one of those scrubbing sessions, the door to the office opens. Surprised, I suck in bath water and spend a solid ten seconds coughing and sputtering.
Lo-and-behold, my Personal Pain in the Stuff Sack leans against the doorjamb with his arms folded across his chest, one ankle casually crossed over the other. Too bad GQ isn’t here with cameras because Xander is cover model material in the flesh. The navy, single button suit he wears looks more expensive than most of the furniture in this office. Unfortunately, it also sets off his stormy eyes, making it practically impossible to notice anything but him.A smug grin creeps over his arrogant mug. “You look a little crazy right now.”
I scowl and hug my arms to my chest, doing my best to hide my panic. Natalie’s reminder to lock the door chooses that moment to waft through my brain, taunting me. “Why thank you. I owe it all to you. What on earth are you doing here?”
His grin grows. “I love what you’re wearing for our date.”
I hunker down deeper in the plastic storage tub and pull my knees a little tighter to my breasts. My heart’s pounding so hard it may be enough to churn more bubbles all by itself. How can he just stand there and flirt? “You act like you’ve never seen a woman having a bath before. Do us a favor and grow up.”
His lips twitch. “I’ve never seen you having a bath before. There’s a very important difference. Also, in all fairness, I’ve never seen any woman bathe in a storage bin, nor turn herself blue doing so.”
“Blue?” I glance down, then hiss. “Son of a cupcake scented bath bomb.”
Author Frieda J. Downing
About the Author Nice to meet you. I’m Frieda. I write sweet contemporary romance as well as romantic adventure.
I blame it on my childhood babysitters. For some reason they thought I shouldn’t ride our family’s buffalo. Believe me, I was just as shocked as you. Though I never did get that buffalo ride, I found plenty of other creative outlets for my adventure needs. Some were good clean fun, some got me kicked out of various and sundry events, and others ended with me getting lost in catacombs. (Not metaphorically speaking. Somewhere there’s an Austrian catacomb caretaker? guy whom I owe dinner and a large apology.)
I like to think I’ve gotten a tiny bit wiser.
I married my best friend and dove head first into the magnificent cyclone known as raising kids. I mountain bike every chance I get, lose my coffee cup daily, and bake a mean lemon merengue pie, if I do say so myself. I may indulge in shenanigans on a regular basis, but I plead the fifth every time.
I suppose it’s important to me that you know how very much I love us crazy, broken humans. We dream so big. We try so hard. Yet somehow, so often, things just go terribly, horribly wrong.
That’s where my books begin… because that’s where the real love story’s found. I hope you enjoy reading them. Most of all, I wish you adventure, joy, and more love than you knew was possible.
Welcome to the blog tour for SHADOWED SEATS, the first book in the young adult mystery series, Oliana Mercer, by Marguerite Ashton. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
SHADOWED SEATS (Oliana Mercer Series #1) by Marguerite Ashton
Synopsis Oliana knows that every family has a secret, but she never expected hers to come from the grave.
High school senior Oliana Mercer dreams of attending the prestigious Reyersen Drama Academy and pursuing her acting career. But when tragedy strikes, Oliana discovers secrets hidden from her by her adopted parents, dimming the lights on her perfect world.
As the sins of the past surface, Oliana finds herself caught up in a tug-of-war between two families while the love for her boyfriend is tested. Determined to find some form of happiness in life, Oliana becomes student director in the high school’s senior play.
When her best friend, Devin Worthy, dies during dress rehearsal, Oliana is re-cast as the lead. Everyone thinks the death was a suicide, except Oliana, whose search for clues may be enough motive for the killer to murder again.
Excerpt “Numbness held me in place as I closed the notebook and tucked it inside the wig. What did this mean? Is the Oliana mentioned in the notebook me? It had to be. But what was this about being set free? My bio parents died in a car accident.
For a second, I felt like I was standing next to a furnace, smoldering in its waves of heat. I hurried out of the attic and stood outside, trying to catch my breath.
Rain pelted my face as I glanced up at my parents’ window on the second floor, then at the driveway where Mom’s minivan and Dad’s pickup were parked. Inside the house, the lights were on in the kitchen. Probably doing what they always do together, cooking dinner.
Grief hollowed my insides. Now was not the time to confront them about what I found. Besides what was I going to do? Tell Mom, I was snooping and found something that freaked me out? The problem was I wanted to go in there and disturb their happiness, so I could get answers about what I’d read. Answers about the handwritten note to Mom by the woman I believed was my birth mother.”
Author Marguerite Ashton
About the Author When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer!
Her blog, Criminal Lines: Settled Writer Past 40 is her outlet while building dollhouses and plotting out her next book.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE ITALIAN HOLIDAY, a standalone adult contemporary romantic comedy by Nicole Sharp. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Struggling writer Keats McCall is Italy bound by Valentine’s Day – but it’s certainly not for amore. She needs to escape her mindless barista job, the four walls of the rented room closing in on her, and the memories of last year’s disastrous break-up. Thank the Roman gods she can pack a bag and passport and run to her sister in Florence, Italy, in the hopes of getting her life back on track.
Keats expected to spend her days meandering through the rain-soaked cobblestone streets of Florence. What she didn’t expect was Lorenzo, who smells of espresso, Italian history and self-assurance, to propel her on an unimaginable journey.
From Florence to Venice, Keats basks in a luscious exploration of Italy and Lorenzo while she tries to figure out if the escapist mindset of an Italian Holiday can duct tape her life back together.
Excerpt #2 “God, that will be romantic, won’t it? Rome with someone you love…”
It was nice to hear that a man could still surprise his girlfriend in a romantic way, that there was still love out in the universe.
Lorenzo didn’t respond to my posturing about the surprise, but his study of me took on an intensity. I wanted to lean away from his intrusive stare, but forced myself to stand my ground and keep my smile steady. After all, I had spent the last hour studying him, and I interrupted first.
He moved then, thankfully breaking the strange moment as he rummaged around in the soft briefcase at his feet. “Ah…” He turned back and produced a small velvet box, took a deep breath and then proceeded to open the box slowly, reverently. His hand was shaking just showing me the ring.
“Oh…wow,” I whispered. “It really is going to be a romantic trip.”
He looked down at the ring and his shaking hand, frowning. “I was thinking about doing it on Valentine’s Day.” He cleared his throat. “I haven’t really been able to talk to anyone about this…” he excused as we both continued to silently study the ring. He nervously cleared his throat again, then quietly asked, “Does that seem…cheesy?”
“No,” I whispered, then reached out and gently touched the ring. I couldn’t imagine a world where someone flew to a foreign country to propose to me with a gold ring that glittered and blinked. But that was the insecurity brought on by the recent breakup. Of course, I couldn’t imagine that world because my ex-asswipe hadn’t even been able to bring himself to go to the store and get my antibiotic filled when I was really sick.
“It’s beautiful,” I verified. Though how could anyone question the breathtaking beauty of the large oval diamond encircled by a halo of smaller diamonds. It was truly stunning.
“It took me two weeks to choose one,” he admitted.
“What’s your girlfriend’s name?”
I smiled and pointed to the ring. “So, it would seem that you are just as excited and anxious as I am about this trip.”
He gave a soft laugh. “I am excited,” he turned the ring toward him so he could study it at a different angle, “and anxious…” he admitted, then cleared his throat once more. “I would argue, however, that some of us are better at handling our emotions than others.”
I finally met his eyes as I exclaimed, “I can’t help it! Excitement works me up…it flips and kicks in my gut. It makes me wear my emotions on my sleeve.”
“Well–” He might have been meaning to say more when a passing flight attendant’s gasp interrupted, “Oh, oh! Did she say yes?”
I blinked up at the flight attendant and then glanced over at Lorenzo; we frowned at each other.
A woman across the aisle leaned over and when she saw the ring, added her own gasp. “I’ve never been on a flight where someone proposed.”
“Oh, no…” I started.
Lorenzo shook his head and emphatically pointed. “No no, not her.”
“Gee, thanks,” I muttered over my shoulder at him.
“No, sorry. You seem…interesting,” he tried as he closed the ring box.
I leaned across the aisle and explained to both the passenger and the flight attendant, “He’s going to propose to his girlfriend in Rome. He was just showing me the ring.”
They were evenly disappointed.
“Such a shame, you make a cute couple,” the flight attendant said, then continued down the aisle.
I gave a snort of disbelief and muttered, “You know, going to Rome to propose on Valentine’s Day is just as exciting.”
As Lorenzo put the ring back in his bag, I touched his arm and reassured, “That is beautiful. Good job. All around.”
“I feel…” He stared over the seats stretched in front of us, trying to find what he was feeling. A shake of his head, he asked once more, “Do you think it’s trite to propose on Valentine’s Day?”
“Not at all. It’s going to be perfect.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” he affirmed.
Author Nicole Sharp
About the Author Legend has it that Nicole Sharp was born to hippies during an ice storm in Stone Mountain, Georgia. While confirmation of said events cannot be agreed upon, one fact is for certain, it was a Tuesday.
By age twelve, Nicole was sure of two things: 1) She wanted to be a writer and 2) She wanted to travel. She begged her parents to allow her to voyage alone to exotic lands. They permitted her to go from California to Boise, Idaho to visit a great-grandmother.
After muddling through the college years, Nicole graduated with a Bachelors in History (think Greeks and Romans). Why didn’t she major in English if she wanted to be a writer? There were better stories in history class.
Nicole is Italian. According to Ancestry.com it’s a rather low percentage, but she feels that she is at least 51% Italian. When she returned to the homeland, she fell in love with the Italian cappuccino, so much so that she studied the language until she was fluent; thus she could order the magical elixir herself: Posso avere un cappuccino, per favore!
Nicole’s first concert was to see the bluegrass group The Seldom Scene when she was a fifteen-year-old, thanks to her parent’s bluegrass phase. However, she never admits it, and instead tells everyone that They Might Be Giants, whom she saw in college, was her real first concert.
Her first car was a yellow Chevy Celebrity and her favorite job was working as a docent in a museum in an old mining town in Colorado. She has written extensively about both.
You’ve done a bad thing. She has you in her sights. Now you’re going to pay.
Meet Camilla Black: an affluent, respected, influential fashion magazine editor, who lives it up in her beautiful Mayfair apartment. But Camilla’s glamorous life is a lie. Behind her poised exterior beats the cold dark heart of a vigilante killer, a murderer hell-bent on wreaking vengeance upon bad men.
Camilla expects to get away with murder. She’s careful. And anyway, it’s worth the risk. She’s making the world a better place with each predator she kills. But when one of her victims’ bodies is unexpectedly found, his gruesome death is splashed all over the papers.
To make matters worse, she’s now being pursued by Detective Wheelan, a new addition to the Met with laser-sharp focus and a worrying habit of solving impossible crimes…
She knows she should stop, but she can’t. Some men just deserve to die. Will Camilla’s insatiable appetite for justice be her downfall, or can she outsmart the police?
Revised edition: Previously published as Predator, this edition of Pretty Evil includes editorial revisions.
Excerpt #3 Julian and I shuffle along, one step at a time, until finally we arrive at a row of garages. The ninth one along, with the peeling burgundy door, is mine. Julian looks around, perplexed. He mumbles something but I ignore it. We walk towards my garage. I reach into my jacket pocket and retrieve my key. I changed my outfit during our date, swapping the Chloé dress I was wearing for a pair of leggings, a hoodie, a puffer jacket – all black, all from H&M. I’ll dispose of them later. Julian didn’t notice my outfit change either. He was probably too busy picturing me naked to have even remembered what I was wearing in the first place.
‘Wha . . . ?’ he slurs as I insert the key into the garage door and unlock it.
‘Just sit down. I need to get something. Some sex toys,’ I explain, trying not to smile.
Julian flops down on to the tarmac as I pull up the creaking garage door.
This garage is where the real me lives. It’s where I keep everything I need for my dark pastimes: a wide selection of the sharpest knives and cleavers, a few choice tools I keep as torture implements (a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a mini saw, rusty nails, a corkscrew), an axe, a vat of acid, latex gloves, cable ties, a hammer, rope, drugs, bin bags, a few more wigs, a few more hats. Stuff like that. I have a bunch of ill-fitting men’s shoes I picked up in Primark and a load of socks that I layer on when I wear them. Better that the footprints I leave at crime scenes resemble those of a size ten or eleven man than a size six woman.
I’ve also got a bin bag full of bits and pieces I’ve stolen from various rapists, wife beaters and paedophiles who’ve been on my radar for a while. According to forensic science theory – Locard’s exchange principle – the perpetrator of a crime will always bring something to a crime scene and leave with something from it, and both can be used as evidence. But what if the perpetrator leaves a ton of red herrings? What if the perpetrator leaves five people’s DNA? Then what? Then who’s the perpetrator? I like thinking of the police, following a million different pointless leads, spinning their wheels, getting nowhere. Or, best-case scenario, they bang up a paedophile rapist piece of shit for my crimes, while I slip through the net, undetected. It makes me smile.
I like fucking with people, if you hadn’t guessed already.
The only furniture in my garage is an old armchair that smells of damp, and a cheap, nasty chest of drawers. The top drawer contains my burner phones. Ones with pay-as-you-go SIMs that I use for getting up to no good, like ordering roofies online or going Tinder-hunting. The middle drawer’s full of random crap – crime novels, newspaper clippings, a few notebooks where I jot down thoughts and add to my hit list.
The bottom drawer is my favourite. Like every serial killer, it’s where I keep a box of trinkets, souvenirs from my kills. I know, I’m that clichéd. Like something from a movie. I always thought I’d be tough enough to resist that particular trope – after all, I do hate clutter – but I couldn’t help myself. I guess I’m just a sentimental old schmuck like all the rest. I wanted tokens too. Mementoes. I keep them inside an old aluminium box sealed with a padlock, the combination of which is the one I used for my bike lock back when I was eleven. Imagine if that girl could see me now. God no, she’d have nightmares.
I look over at Julian, passed out on the ground. Perfect. I hook my forearms under his armpits and pull him inside. He slumps on to the floor. I yank the garage door shut and flick on a camping lamp.
I feel like having a little meander down memory lane. I find my box of mementoes and kick off my trainers before settling, cross-legged, in my skanky old armchair. I place it on my lap and click through the dials of the lock, entering the combination: three, eight, two, four. The padlock springs open. I slide it off and open the box.
Author Zoe Rosi
About the AuthorZoe Rosi has a background in journalism and copywriting. She worked as a reporter for local and national newspapers before moving into the fashion industry as a copywriter. Zoe had four romantic comedies published before writing her debut thriller, Pretty Evil. Working in fashion sparked the idea for the book, which Zoe describes as ‘The Devil Wears Prada meets American Psycho’. Someone’s Watching Me is Zoe’s second thriller.
Welcome to the book blitz for DEFY THE STARS, 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.
Growing up within the grind of the enchanted Circus Faire, Crew’s unique talents have blossomed. Though, he’s been warned that the King of Hawkswing is determined to eradicate a certain species, and for his own sake Crew must keep his formidable gifts under wraps.
Relations between interspecies caused an imbalance of power and now are strictly forbidden. Dolorans, like Sage and her sister, are being hunted and persecuted because of their intense powers, leaving them no choice but to run to escape the genocide of their kind.
She possesses a forceful energy for good and evil.
His untapped powers are growing stronger by the day.
Survival will demand they rely on each other.
When Crew learns a dark wizard is holding his brother captive, he enters into a deal with him in hopes of getting close enough to free those he has imprisoned. Yet, what he uncovers is far more sinister than Crew could ever imagine. Can Crew harness the strength within him to save his brother and Sage and all those in the wizard’s clutches? Or will he be trapped by the wizard’s wicked plan?
Excerpt #3 Crew spun at the sound of her voice. The hag in all her ungodly glory, a decrepit example of a woman, materialized a mere yard from him. Short in stature, her hunchbacked-frame leaned on the staff for support, and up close, her cat-eyes glared at him. Folds of wrinkles poured down her face, but what drew his sight was a cambered bone piercing the septum of her nose. “I’m too tired to play your games, woman.” He fingered the ring on his pinkie.
“No!” Her robed arm shot out, hands gaunt. “I know your ancestry. Intrigued, are you not? I feel it, in the racing of your heart, the flow of your blood.”
He left the ring on, turning it.
“Boy—I am your grandmother.” Her smile looked painful on her face. “Many generations removed.” Attempting a snicker, it came out as a wheeze. “I am Queen Esta. Sovereign Ruler of Misbegottens. Souls conceived by the mightiest, indomitable beings of creation. Our kinfolks were feared and revered by everyone, great and small.” With each spoken word the hag’s stooped vertebrae realigned. Chink by chink, her backbone straightened.
“This is your world, then.” Crew took a gander at Griggan, who was trimming his clawed nails with the tip of his sword. “You are a witch, a sorcerer—a deceiver? Am I supposed to be impressed, reverent even, to be in your presence? This is my ancestry, my inheritance? Well I think I’ll go back to being a grunt in the—”
“You profane, insolent shit.” The planes of her face changed, as if a potter’s fingers were molding, reshaping her skin. Stretching and tightening it over the bones of her face. The hood slipped off her head, bunching on her shoulders. Bedraggled locks were replenished with a growth of satiny snow-white hair. Her cat eyes flashed him a silvery wink. “Don’t trifle with me, boy.”
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 ANNIHILATION ARCHETYPES, the first book in the adult fantasy series, Annihilation Archetypes, by M.M. Gargiulo. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
ANNIHILATION ARCHETYPES (Annihilation Archetypes Series #1) by M.M. Gargiulo
Synopsis Born to siren humans to their watery graves, Nefertiti feels trapped in her life of violence. She leaves her home to venture on shore and falls in love with humans. Her duty brings her back to the sea, and fate tightens its hold on her from an unexpected source.
Excerpt: The next day Evgenís was eager to talk about my training. I was evasive, trying not to make eye contact with her. I thought the details of my night were too embarrassing to share with my proud sister, and I had no wish to relive them. I did not know if other huntresses took so long to learn how to walk, but Diana made it seem like they did not.
“Okay, you do not want to talk about it,” she sighed after a few minutes of this ensued. “Tell me this, did you learn something?”
I looked up into her beautiful blue eyes and found myself both comforted and sad. I wished I was better at walking, but Evgenís would still love me even if I was a terrible huntress.
“Yes, I absolutely learned lots of things yesterday.” I smiled at her, forcing myself to look excited and happy.
“Interesting,” she murmured under her breath. “I am glad,” she said at full volume.
“Okay, well do you have anything you would like to do today?” she asked me, her voice bright and cheerful.
“I think I am to meet with someone today.” Guilt washed over me again. Evgenís had given up living with me to come and live here, in isolation.
“Oh, no matter, I am sure I can find something to do while you are busy. Perhaps we can pick a night soon and go to our favorite wreck?” Her hopeful tone had me agreeing before I thought it over.
“I’d love to!” The wreck was a smallish fishing boat that had sunk off the coast of a tropical island. Many species of fish lived inside it, and coral grew off the outside of it. I was particularly in love with the spot because of the bright white sand. It seemed to be made of thousands and thousands of tiny corals, smashed and rounded by the tide and the wind. It was one of our favorite places to go. Evgenís always found it difficult to find fish while we were there. I had many happy memories of the two of us laughing and relaxing in the sand.
Evgenís smiled at my enthusiasm and kissed me on the cheek, excited at our prospective time together.
We ate some kelp together that apparently someone had dropped off in excessive amount while we slept. Things almost felt back to normal, despite our vastly different surroundings. I felt as though removing my tail somehow made me less of a mermaid than Evgenís.
When we were done eating, I bid Evgenís farewell and started to swim through the caverns and tunnels toward the surface to an area similar to the one where I met Diana. If my new teacher was anything like Diana, she would show up near the surface. I watched the moon move in the sky for hours, feeling my anxiety rise. Maybe I was supposed to go somewhere specific, but Diana forgot to mention it.
I was just starting to swim back and forth when I heard a voice.
“Nefertiti! How are you?” Santiago was swimming by, with two others.
“I am well, thank you.” My eyes drifted to the two others with him. One was a beautiful fair blonde female, the other a dark-complexioned male.
“Oh, this is Kane,” he said, gesturing toward the male merman. “And this is Danica.”
“Pleasure to meet the both of you.” I nodded my head in their direction. Kane bent at the waist in my direction.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Huntress.” His deep dark eyes met mine.
“Lovely to meet you as well,” Danica said.
“We were going to visit a reef down in the tropics,” Santiago said. “Would you care to join us?”
“Thank you, but I am supposed to be meeting someone,” I said. I took note of Kane’s and Santiago’s eyes that seemed to linger, and Danica’s, which seemed full of contempt.
“Next time, perhaps.” Kane’s eyes were still locked on me.
“I would love to.” I smiled at Kane, and could feel Santiago stir slightly next to him.
“Farewell then, Nefertiti.” Santiago nodded his head, and the three of them turned and began to swim away. I watched them go with a pang of loneliness and wondered if there would ever be a time where I did not feel so isolated from my own kind. My thoughts turned to Evgenís, who probably had an even harder time with it than I did. Guilt flashed through me at the idea of Evgenís leaving everyone she knew to raise me on her own.
I watched the stars turn in the sky and thought about their stark and naked beauty. Not unlike our people, but less dangerous. I imagined the answers to all of my questions were up there, winking at me in some code I could not understand. I wished I could speak their language of light. I wondered if the Gods were there, Evgenís had told me they lived up in the clouds.
When the sky began to lighten, I gave up my quest. Perhaps my next mentor had forgotten about the time. Maybe Diana gave her the wrong name. I started to swim toward the castle, taking one last look back at the sky. Suddenly a massive hammerhead shark emerged from the haze in the distance. I paused on my journey back home to watch the magnificent creature swim. His gait was the most elegant thing I had ever seen. The way he swam back and forth was reminiscent of how the sea seemed to part for the king himself. I loved the movement of his tail fin.
The shark seemed to notice me as soon as I noticed him. He adjusted his path slightly so he was headed straight toward me. I reached my hand forward, not in the slightest bit frightened of him. He was the hunter equivalent to myself. Even his skin was made of the tiniest teeth. I would probably grow to be more dangerous than he was. At the last second he turned his giant head, swimming by me to allow my outreached arm to pet the length of him as he swam by.
I felt my heart stir at the scars that decorated his side. He was a beautiful creature, full of an ancient sadness. I wondered how anyone could ever hurt such a creature. My hand ran the length of him, ten times my own size, and I felt the rough, textured body under my delicate soft hand.
He circled me once, clearly as eager as I was to remain closely connected, even if it was for a short while. When he came by me a second time, I grabbed onto his dorsal fin and let the length of me rest on top of his body. He seemed pleased by the attention and slowed his pace, allowing me to feel the gentle sway of the giant beast as he moved his tail back and forth. My own body swayed with his movements, and I felt as though we were one. I traced the deep gashes of scars on his back with my fingers, wondering what had caused them. I rode atop him for longer than I should have, the sun starting to really shine on the top of the sea.
He circled back after quite some time of me lying on top of him and swam with dignity back to where he had first found me. I turned my head to kiss the top of his back, my hair swirling around my face.
“Goodbye friend, I hope to see you again soon.” I watched him turn and be swallowed up by the dark sea. Maybe I would never get to play with the other merpeople, but at least I would have shark friends. I turned tail, and made my way back to the cave, exhausted from lack of sleep the previous night. Just before I approached the entrance to the first tunnel, I was startled by a stunning woman waiting by the entrance to the hall.
She had waist length red and silver hair (I gathered she was a huntress), a green tail fin, and a fair complexion. Her giant blue eyes were staring, unblinkingly, at me. I assumed she was older due to the streaks of silver in her bright red hair, but it was difficult to tell, there were no lines on her face.
“Nefertiti.” It was not a question, and I tried to figure out if I had met this woman before.
“Yes, that is I.” I smiled at her, hoping she was less crass than Diana. “I apologize, have we met?”
“We have not, although I have heard tell of you.”
“Well it is truly a pleasure to be acquainted with you.” I nodded my head in her direction.
“Yes, it is, but there is no need to be so formal with me.” She tossed back her hair, and it shimmered out behind her with such finesse I felt a ping of envy. I wondered if I would grow up to be so beautiful. “I am Arianna.”
“Arianna.” Her name sounded like a story I had long forgotten.
“Come, let us go for a swim.” She smiled at me, and I noticed her teeth were not sharpened, but similar to Evgenís’s. Maybe she wasn’t a huntress after all. She reached out her tiny soft hand, and I put mine into hers.
“I am here to teach you the ways of those on land,” Arianna stated. “Much has changed since I walked up there, but I have the best understanding of humankind. I am one of those who brought the best of the land back to the sea.”
Welcome to the blog tour for DOC SHOWMANCE, a standalone adult contemporary romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Zoe Forward. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis From USA Today bestselling author Zoe Forward comes a new enemies-to-lovers veterinary RomCom.
I would say Dr. Ian Todd is my archenemy. But that would require us acknowledging each other, which we haven’t done since we graduated veterinary school.
He’s famous. As in, he’s the world’s “Sexiest Veterinarian Alive” with his own wildlife TV show and a string of glamorous girlfriends.
I’m infamous as a reality TV emergency veterinarian with a snark mouth, take-no-crap attitude, and zero dating life.
When asked to fake a romance with him on TV to boost my ER show’s ratings, I want to say no-way, but the extra money will pay off my brother’s loan shark debt. Even though Ian broke my heart, playing his love interest shouldn’t be hard, especially if it means getting to watch him squirm.
Lines get blurred when the TV setups stop feeling fake. Can I chance this might be real love?
Excerpt #3 “Amber,” I said slow. “I’ve been giving you space, but I’m not giving up this time. I know we weren’t good for each other in the past.”
She dropped her head. “Don’t do this, Ian.”
I stepped in front of her so we were facing each other. I brushed a knuckle over her cheek and pulled her hair back behind her shoulder. “I’m not at this clinic for the job. I’m here for you. To have a second chance. Or, really, a first chance since we never gave ourselves a chance before.”
Would she see my words as real or bullshit for the camera? This wasn’t rehearsed. This wasn’t something I was told to say. I meant it. I could’ve walked away from the baloney of this show at any time. Sure, I wanted my own show back on TV, and I never wanted to hear about what happened in Colombia again, but I could survive without being on TV. My vlog was still wildly hot. I stayed here to see her again.
“Ian,” she said, breathless. “I don’t think—”
“What do you want me to do?” I asked, bending so our mouths were lined up so close but not touching. “What does a man like me do when the woman he wants more than anything won’t forgive him for a mistake when he was younger and stupid?”
She closed her eyes and held completely still, but I hadn’t missed the pain and uncertainty brewing in her hazel gaze. Then she moved out of my grasp. “I have to see an appointment.”
As she exited the office, the cameraman lowered his camera and said, “That was masterful, Dr. Todd.”
Her head swiveled. The vicious scowl communicated she’d throttle me if she could. Any hint that was real—because it had been—was now shattered.
Author Zoe Forward
About the Author Zoe Forward might admit to you she’s almost prepared for the zombie apocalypse before the fact she writes contemporary and paranormal romances. Her novels have won numerous awards including the Prism, Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence, Golden Quill, Carolyn Readers Choice Award, and the Booksellers’ Best Award. She’s best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud Keepers of the Veil series, which has won numerous awards. She’s a board-certified veterinarian. You can find her residing in the South with the love of her life, a menagerie of four-legged beasts and two wild kids.
Welcome to the book blitz for A CROWN FORGED BY VICTORY’S CONSEQUENCE, the first book in the adult fantasy series, The Blackened Tablet, by Aaryanna Abbott and Marlayna James. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.
A CROWN FORGED BY VICTORY’S CONSEQUENCE (The Blackened Tablet Series #1) by Aaryanna Abbott and Marlayna James
Synopsis Three hundred years ago, the sacred tablet granted by their god, Jezabet, turned black, and eight kingdoms broke free, plummeting into the bottomless sea. There was no warning, and no one knows why.
Now, a strange illness plagues Aldersward. Crowned Prince Aedyn’s sisters, Achelle and Annora, his father, and countrymen are desperate and grief-stricken. All hope is lost…
Until someone dreams, and Aedyn leaves behind his mistress and his betrothed to cure their nation. He enlists his friends; a brazen playboy, a gentle strongman, and an ancient mentor. Together, they set out on a perilous journey—few believe they will survive.
This isn’t a fairy tale—s3x becomes currency, murder is ordinary, and love doesn’t conquer all.
Everyone loves a hero—good triumphs evil. But few dare to question how victory ripples into consequences. Explore this exciting concept in the Blackened Tablet Series.
Excerpt #2 As the sun rose, Aedyn and four groups rowed onto the beach. Two groups would swap out every day, providing all a reprieve from the vessel’s confinement. Women responsible for the horses’ care would utilise an assembled tent next to a makeshift paddock. The men saddled the mounts and rode out, following a Slay guide. Aedyn rode mid procession as they navigated the grassy land toward Slaysfold castle.
“It’s monotonous. I see nay trees, merely a mix of grasses and flowers with the odd shrub. Not even around that lake.” Bennet surveyed the landscape.
“The meadows appear dead, scorched, and yet the sun is cooler here than home.” Aron included himself in the conversation.
Aedyn, puzzled, glanced around. “Where’s Auren?”
“His pouch made quite the racket this morning when he disembarked. He was speaking to a woman as we headed out. He must travel behind.” Asa twisted, not seeing Auren amongst them.
Hundreds of vibrant blue birds, the colour of the Aldersward blue lagoon, landed playfully nearby, then took flight moments later, seeming to play a childhood game of chase. In the distance, a herd of heavy-framed, large beasts with shaggy coats and hunched backs observed the men’s movements. Their heads were wide with a set of horns and bearded chins. Not creatures the Alders recognised.
After a couple of hours, Auren galloped upon them with a wide grin. “This feels much like home. The women here also demand my attention.”
“You make a dreadful lead. Remind me to dismiss you once we return home.” Aedyn ridiculed as the others chuckled.
He feigned an indignant tone. “I was gaining intelligence. It was strategic.”
Amused, Bennet asked. “Strategic?”
He boasted. “While they were busy exercising me, they couldn’t kill Prince Aedyn, could they? Furthermore, you’re welcome.”
They all laughed, aware that Auren’s vulnerability was women and someday, not a magical creature, but a woman would be his demise. Emissary Aron poked Asa, then pointed to Auren’s purse, which sounded considerably less noisy than it had earlier.
“Did ye learn anything of value during yer, um,” Bennet slicked back his hair, “visit?”
“King Sumner executed his father, the last king, and sexually enslaved his mother. They sounded disgusted. They also spoke of another imprisoned slave the king has. Apparently, the king brutalised her until she was unrecognisable and contorted. They were very forthcoming.” Auren explained, knowing his information was valuable.
“His people should be disgusted. I imagine we all will be, but let’s keep it hidden. It’s none of our business. I’m not here to create enemies.” Aedyn advised. “Did the women say anything else useful?”
“Trees are rare now and the king has taken the few remaining, planted them together, and now protects them.” Auren grinned. “Otherwise, they moaned, cried, and pleaded for me to continue my skilled invasion. I’ll spare you your jealousy.”
Author Aaryanna Abbott
About the Authors Aaryanna Abbot is another of my pen names. For every pen name, I use a different part of who I am. I imagine this is how she looks. What’s this part of me like? I was a daddy’s girl. The very epitome of spoilt.
I love to be wild and crazy—experience everything the world has to offer. I’m adventurous and my carefree disposition is contagious. I’m loyal to a fault and don’t care what expectations or labels society has bestowed upon me. I believe one’s truth is more valuable than anyone’s perception.
This part of me writes for escapism—to be free of my mundane day to day and live in a magical world almost as real to me as earth. Except in my imaginary world, I control all things and it pleases me to no end. Do you know how happy you would be living there?
Author Marlayna James
Marlayna lives in Canada where she writes romance, erotica, women’s fiction, and fantasy. She loves video games, TV, reading, and writing.
Welcome to the book blitz for HER BEST FRIEND’S BROTHER, the first book in the adult contemporary romance series, Six Gems, by Yahrah St. John. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
HER BEST FRIEND’S BROTHER (Six Gems Series #1+) by Yahrah St. John
Childhood friends become forbidden lovers in this sexy start to the Six Gems series from Yahrah St. John.
Their fiery affair fulfills her fantasies…
And puts everything at risk.
When travel blogger Wynter Barrington’s wealthy, disapproving family cuts her off, she finds comfort in a passionate chance encounter with Riley Davis, her best friend’s brother. He’s hot as hell…and totally off-limits.
And when they meet again months later, they begin a sizzling affair. Wynter knows Riley doesn’t do love and marriage, but her youthful crush is feeling more and more like a real relationship. If she’s not careful, Wynter may put more than her relationship with her best friend on the line. Can she survive falling in love with the one man she was never supposed to touch?
Excerpt #1 Riley led Wynter out of the restaurant and to the passenger side of his Bentley, waiting at the curb, and then came round to the driver’s side. Before turning on the car, he turned to her. “Are you sure about this, Wynter? Because if we do this, you need to understand that it’s only for one night. I don’t do commitments or relationships. Besides which, I just became partner at my law firm. I have no room in my life for personal entanglements.”
She understood, because she wasn’t looking for more than tonight. Her world was already topsy-turvy. Spending the night with Riley would be her choice, something she could control. She was owning her feminine power and taking what she wanted. “Yes, I’m sure. I want you, Riley, but if the feeling isn’t mutual…”
He snorted. And before she knew it, Riley’s mouth came down hard and demanding on hers. Desire rushed through Wynter as her arms slid around his neck. She returned the kiss and gave him everything. Riley growled against her mouth as he plundered its depths. His tongue mated with hers in an erotic dance that made her belly swoop and dive like a flight of doves taking off. Wynter’s mind became frenzied with a blur of sensations. If they didn’t stop, she was afraid of what she might let him do right there in the car. Slowly, she pulled away.
He frowned. “Did I come on too strong?”
She shook her head. “Not at all. You were just right, but unless you want to get cited for indecent exposure, I think it might be a good idea for us to take this back to your place.”
Riley grinned. “I think you’re right.” After giving her a heated stare, he turned on the ignition and eased the car out of the parking lot.
Author Yahrah St. John
About the Author Yahrah St. John is the International author of forty books. She became a writer at the age of twelve when she wrote her first novella after secretly reading a Harlequin romance. Throughout her teens, she penned a total of twenty novellas. Her love of the craft continued into adulthood. She’s the proud author of thirty-nine books with Arabesque, Kimani Romance and Harlequin Desire as well as her own indie works.
When she’s not at home crafting one of her spicy romances with compelling heroes and feisty heroines with a dash of family drama, she is gourmet cooking or traveling the globe seeking out her next adventure. For more info:www.yahrahstjohn.com or find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bookbub or Goodreads.