Apr 1, 2015

This Heart is Mine by Brenda Novak



4.5 Stars TOP PICK from RT Book Reviews!

First love. Second chance?

As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him—especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next.

Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob’s father isn’t exactly welcoming.

Riley doesn’t trust Phoenix, doesn’t want her in Jacob’s life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he’s about to find both!


As soon as they were gone, Riley grabbed Phoenix’s elbow, hanging on even when she tried to avoid the contact, and guided her to his truck. “Let’s get you to a doctor.”

The second Riley mentioned doctor, she wrenched away from him. “No, I―I don’t need a doctor.”

“He’ll check out that cut, tell us if it needs stitches.”

“A doctor will cost money. And I…I have other plans for…for my income in the next while.”

What income? He doubted she had any, but he couldn’t say that. “Phoenix…”

“Stop,” she said. “I’ve had worse than this. This is nothing.”

Watching her closely, he could see that she was dizzy. “Do it for Jacob’s peace of mind, then.”

“Please, don’t.”

“Don’t what?”

“I haven’t got the money for a doctor. I’m sure you know that.”

“I’ll look after the bill,” he said, but he should’ve known that wouldn’t convince her.

She edged farther away from him. Then she started down the street at a faster clip than he felt she should. “I’m okay,” she called back. “Go take care of Jacob.”

“Damn it, Phoenix.” He hurried after her. “Why do you have to be so stubborn? It won’t cost that much.”

She hadn’t bothered to turn when he spoke, so he’d been talking to her back. “It’s a waste of money,” she told him over one shoulder. “I’m fine, like I said.”

“It’s five miles to your place. You’ll never make it.”

She made no comment.

“Soon you won’t even be able to see where you’re going, what with all that blood.”

Again, she didn’t respond. She’d managed to put a little distance between them and obviously thought she was getting away. But he wasn’t about to let her go. He had no idea whether she’d make it. So he jogged after her and swept her into his arms, which wasn’t hard since she didn’t weigh much.

“Ah!” she cried. He’d startled her. She hadn’t expected that move. He guessed her head hurt, too, and being jarred hadn’t helped.

“We’re doing this my way,” he said, and carried her to his truck.

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New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of fifty books. A four-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Holt Medallion. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.4 million. For more about Brenda, please visit www.brendanovak.com.

Author Links: Site       Facebook        Twitter


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Mar 31, 2015

Rundown by Teresa Michaels

Rundown
Curveball Series #2
by Teresa Michaels
Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations

Synopsis

Breanne Sullivan never expected to find love again. Allowing herself to move on wasn’t easy, and now it may be too late. Determined to give herself a second chance, she will go to any lengths to prove her love to Drew. If only she could find him.

Desperate to numb his heartache in the wake of Breanne’s rejection, with something other than women and booze, Drew Scott packs his bags for the West Coast. Distance and a fresh start are just what he needs to heal the wounds caused by the only woman to ever captivate his heart.

But when the past and present collide in an unexpected way, Breanne and Drew quickly learn that things aren’t always what they seem. Caught between solving the mysteries that haunt them and getting the happily ever after they deserve, the two once again find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that could destroy them both.

Answers come at a dangerous price. Sacrifices must be made in order to protect the ones they love. Can Breanne prove her love to Drew before its too late? Or will opposing forces interfere and destroy any chance of them having a future together?

Meet the Author

Teresa Michaels lives in the New England area with her husband and children.  Curveball is her debut novel.


Giveaway



The Soul Retrieval by Ann W. Jarvie




Inspired by a true story, The Soul Retrieval is a suspenseful tale of love, loss and healing which follows traumatized southern beauty Henrietta Clayborn as she moves between her home in a small South Carolina town and the New Mexico Native American reservation whose spontaneous healings keep drawing her physician husband back. Tortured by her awful secrets, Henrietta struggles to thrive in either locale, but it is her unlikely friendship with Joe Loco––an eccentric Native American mystic with an Elvis fetish and a gift for healing––that shows her the way to be whole again.

Set in the late 1950s, The Soul Retrieval is richly woven with spiritual insights but also deadly secrets, forbidden healings, a murder mystery, stunning scenery and an unforgettable cast of characters.

A story of transcendent and inspiring power that is both entertaining and enlightening, readers will be cheering for the uptight woman from South Carolina to push through her fears of the forbidden as she searches for truth and healing, faces great obstacles on the frontier of self and ultimately becomes more than she ever thought possible.




“It’s just as Bear foretold,” the Apache said. He closed his eyes and moved his hands in small circles with palms out. “The fire’s burning, but no one’s home in your teepee.”

“Excuse me?”

“You don’t feel like yourself, you’re feeling vacant and disconnected, like something’s missing.” Joe spoke as he opened his eyes.

She gaped at him in stunned silence before whispering: “How … why would you say something like that?” Henrietta’s heart thumped in her chest as she nervously glanced toward the living room. Her husband was still talking on the phone.

“Your soul speaks volumes through your eyes.”

“You see something in my eyes?” And she rubbed them again with her handkerchief.

“I see what was there, what should be there, but is not now.”

“Don’t be silly. I’m fine. My eyes were just watering, that’s all.” She winced, knowing that it wasn’t true, hating that she’d become such a liar.

“It’s okay, I’m here to help,” Joe said. He placed his folded hands on the table after sitting down.

His smile and disarming empathy surprised Henrietta, but she wasn’t going to be moved by what seemed like a sweet and insightful gesture. Joe Loco was absolutely the last person in the world she’d choose to confide in.



“Don’t worry. It’s obvious your soul has fragmented and is in need of repair,” Joe said with a calm certainty, as if it was an everyday matter to be dealt with.

“What?” Henrietta put her hands down and stared into space, bewildered by his words. In the quietude, the sizzle of the frying eggs and bacon filled the room like a choir of rattlers. My soul has what? When she looked again at Joe, planning to demand exactly what he meant, his eyes were closed, and he was whispering and holding his palms up as though in prayer.

So she placed the cooked food on a plate, poured a glass of milk and put both down in front of him. He opened his eyes and smiled up at her.

“That’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever heard—a soul fragmenting,” she said. “How would something like that even be possible?”

“It can happen when we believe or experience something bad we don’t want to face.” He took a bite of eggs and grits, closing his eyes again to savor the combination. “Oh, this is yum-yum,” he said.

When he looked up, it was Henrietta who was staring.

“The good news is that lost soul fragments can be recovered and healed. It’s not hard, if you know how, if you know the secret,” Joe said.

“Are you saying you know how to do that? That you know the secret?”

“The Great Spirit works hitherto and I work.”

She crossed her arms. “So what are you, some kind of soul repairman?”



Ann W. Jarvie has a B.A. in journalism and more than twenty-five years’ experience as an award-winning writer in advertising and public relations agencies, both in South Carolina and Chicago. She now lives near Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends part of her time as a freelance copywriter and the rest writing fiction.

The Soul Retrieval was inspired by Jarvie’s maternal grandmother’s fascinating life on Indian reservations, where she lived with her physician husband until his mysterious and untimely death.

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Mar 30, 2015

Claddagh & Chaos by Cayce Poponea

Claddagh & Chaos
Shamrocks & Secrets Series #2
by Cayce Poponea
Publication Date: April 11, 2015
Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations

Synopsis

Shamrocks left us with Patrick posing an intriguing question. What exactly happened during those twenty five years? We know that they got their happily ever after, but how did Patrick and Christi get there? Could love have a shelf life?  


Meet the Author

Cayce Poponea currently resides in Southern Georgia, with her three dogs and wonderful husband. A true romantic at heart, she writes the type of fiction that she loves to read. When she isn't setting behind her computer screen, creating yet another heart stopping, page turning novel. You can find her enjoying down time with her family.




Mar 26, 2015

Amplify by Anne Mercier



Genre: Contemporary Romance

(Rockstar #3) 
SERA
He’s my protector, my confidante. Then one night he became more. I want him, I need him, and, if I’m honest with myself, I love him. I just don’t know if he’ll ever see me as more than what we’ve always been: friends. I don’t want to lose him but it’s getting harder and harder to keep my feelings to myself. Should I risk it all or play it safe?


CAGE
She’s my light, my saving grace. The night we came together I knew I could never live without her. I want her to be mine: my lover, my friend. Maybe, if I can get her to see past all the reasons why we shouldn’t be together, she’ll be my forever. It just might be time to turn it up and go for broke.




Sera's POV

We walk into the kitchen just as the teakettle begins to whistle.

"Perfect timing."

He nods once and walks to the stove, turning off the burner. He pushes down the lever for the toaster and prepares my cup of tea. I head over to the little alcove rather than the table and sit on the window seat. I’d love to curl up here with a book… or just look out the window.

The ocean is angry today, the waves white-capping and frothing with fury. I wonder what fueled its anger today. I know all about anger. Anger is what’s kept me going the past twelve years. Without it, I’d have given up. Well, in truth, I did give up for a little while…until I found that anger.

Then I was able to focus and do what needed to be done. Just get through life until I could find my parents’ killers. I haven’t forgotten and as much as my parents tell me I should let it go when I dream, I can’t. Someone took them from me, took their lives so senselessly, so brutally, so carelessly, and then walked away without a thought. I grind my teeth and watch as a bird lands on the sand, picking at a dead fish. Irony? Or, my parents with a message?

"Here we go," Cage says and sets a tray next to me. He sits on the other side of the window seat, crossing his legs like me and I grin. He’s huge… get your mind out of the gutter. I mean overall, not his naughty bits, but in truth those’re nicely proportioned.

I nibble on a piece of toast, looking at him with his black-rimmed glasses on, reading the newspaper. God, he’s so incredibly sexy. The glasses…oh, I’d love to get him under me while he’s wearing those.

"What?" he asks when he catches me staring.

I take a sip of my tea. Lemony and sweet just the way I like it.

"How tall are you, exactly?"

He smirks. "Six-four."

I nod. "And how much do you weigh?"

"Two-fifty-six."

I raise my brows. "Nothing but muscle."

He shrugs a shoulder.

"You have to know that’s incredibly hot," I say without thinking.

When he grins, I feel the blush stain my cheeks.

"It doesn’t matter what I think or know," he replies, leaning forward, running a fingertip on my flushed cheek.

"What matters then?" Generally, I only care what I think about myself, my body. I’m not really into the whole making myself look how society and men want you to look—not since I gave up full-time modeling.

"What matters," he tells me, sipping his tea, "is what you think."

"Hmm," is all I can come up with. He stumped me there. What do you say to that? I take another bite of the toast, which isn’t sitting all that well.

He winks and goes back to reading his paper and I turn to watch a mother with two little boys playing down on the beach—well, it’s more like they’re running and she’s chasing them. They can’t be older than three or four, and oh goodness are they cute with their curly brown hair that’s a little too long, yet stylish, and their cute little board shorts. I wonder if they’re twins or if they were born one right after the other. They look very close in age.

Absently, I pick up my tea and take a sip, then cradle it in my hands, the heat of the ceramic cup reminding me not to get too comfortable, but I hold it steady. Most would set the too-hot cup down, but I need the reminder, apparently. What am I thinking, thinking I could have a life like that? I can’t. Not with la Famiglia. And yet, I’m going to be thrown right into that situation with the tiny life growing inside me. I pull my knees to my chest and rest my cheek on them, still holding my tea.

I sigh and take another sip, watching the mother and boys twirl in the sand. I wonder if it’ll be a boy or a girl. I should tell the father, but I’m not ready. I just found out, just got used to the idea, and I’m not very far along at all. It’s only been since just before the tour started so that’s seven, maybe eight weeks.

I’m kind of glad we get a break for the next couple months. It helps with my being so sick and it also helps with the level of danger that’s been escalating daily.

The mom leads the boys back to their blanket and they sit down to enjoy a snack. Crackers maybe. And I imagine juice. Definitely juice. I note she’s drinking Starbucks and I long for my Caramel Macchiato.

I sigh again.

"You’re doing an awful lot of sighing over there."

I look at Cage from the corner of my eye and shrug a shoulder.

"You’ll have that one day, Fee," Cage says, tilting his head toward the family.

I snort. "It’s impossible. There is no way I can take my child down to the beach and be that carefree. I wouldn’t dare. I have to always be on alert. Always. It’s the first rule Grandpa taught me and one I never forget."

Cage frowns. "There are ways you can have that, Fee. Nothing is impossible. You forget, there are ways to protect those in la Famiglia."

I look at him, eye to eye. "Lucy," is all I say and he nods.

"That wasn’t supposed to happen."

I nod. "It never is. But it does."

He tilts his head to the side. "It does. More than it should. We should have anticipated it wasn’t just you they were after."

I nod, tears welling in my eyes as I remember seeing my sister pale and lifeless in that hospital bed.

One lone tear falls, trailing down my cheek and dropping onto my thigh.

"What is it?" Cage asks.

"That should have been me," I admit.

"No."

The way he says it, so powerfully and definitive has me starting a bit.

"It’s never going to be you. This won’t happen again."

"If they want it to, it—"


"No, Sera. It won’t happen again. Safety measures and security are now where they should have been then."

Buy Links: Amazon       Barnes and Noble      iTunes



First and foremost I am an avid reader of romance. I read every single day. Without reading I wouldn’t be inspired to write. The same can be said about music. I started reading with Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown’s LoveSwept titles forever ago and went from reading solely traditionally published to reading nearly all indie authors. I still read my Nora and a few others. A must.

I started seriously writing about six years ago when the need to get the stories that are stuck in my head on paper became overwhelming.

I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

I’m a huge fan of music, chocolate, fruit, Fall, Matt Shadows, Avenged Sevenfold, and Milo Ventimiglia.



Author Links: Site      Facebook      Twitter       Pinterest        Goodreads



Anne Mercier is giving away a print copy of Falling Down, a print copy of Blush, and
$10 Amazon GC. For your chance to win enter the rafflecopter below.





Mar 25, 2015

Melted by Jennie Marts




Genre: Romantic Comedy


Painful memories from long ago resurface when Emily Wells travels to Colorado to clean out her family’s vacation cabin for its new owner. Strongest among them? Her recollections of Logan Chase, Emily’s first love, to whom she gave her heart one magical summer, only to have it broken when she never heard from him again. Logan had never forgotten that summer romance and can’t believe it when he finds Emily packing up the little cabin that he has recently purchased for renovation. Despite the passage of years and their stormy history, Emily and Logan can’t deny the fierce attraction that still sizzles between them…Will one snowy night together be enough to melt her frozen heart and give them both a second chance at love?







Hey!” He grabbed her around the middle in a playful tackle and rolled on top of her.



She shrieked in laughter, throwing snow and bucking against him.



He pinned her, breathing hard, and grinned down at her. Snowflakes stuck to his ridiculously long, dark eyelashes, and her breath caught as she looked up into his eyes.



He’d only grown more gorgeous with age. Looking at him caused her chest to actually hurt. She’d missed him so damn much.



The laughter in his eyes changed to something different. Something darker as he looked down at her lips. She sucked in her bottom lip and watched his blue eyes deepen further still.



He leaned down, his mouth achingly close to hers. She could feel the warmth of his breath against her cheek and the delicious weight of his body as he lowered himself onto hers.



What was she doing? She hadn’t seen Logan in years. He might be a totally different person than she remembered him to be. He could have turned into a total a-hole. Or worse, he could still be the same sweet Logan that had held her hand and taught her how to shoot pool.



Would his lips feel familiar? Would he taste the same? Her heart pounded against her chest, and she knew her hands were trembling.



Only one way to find out.



She reached up and laid her hand against his cheek. He closed his eyes and turned his face toward her hand, softly laying a kiss against her palm.



Oh my.



She sucked in her breath, her lips aching in anticipation. He opened his eyes and looked into hers. Looked into her very soul.



Then he leaned down and took her mouth in his. He didn’t just kiss her, he possessed her lips with a passion that sizzled all the way to her toes. His kisses were hungry, greedy, as if he were starving, and she was his last meal.



His right hand tangled in her hair while his left held her face, cupping her cheek in a tender grasp.



Her body burned, and she arched against him, pressing closer as she wrapped her arms around his back and held on. His back was strong. She could feel his muscles tense even through his coat.



They were putting out so much heat that she was surprised the snow hadn’t melted in a circle around them.



Suddenly he pulled back, his breath now coming in hard gasps. “Wait. I’m so sorry. We can’t do this.” He pushed up and leaned back on the snow.



“Oh. Yeah.” Her body was cold without his warmth. She shivered and wrapped her arms around her chest. “No, of course not.”



Wait, why can’t we?



Buy Link: Amazon






Jennie Marts loves to make readers laugh as she weaves stories filled with love, friendship and intrigue. She writes for Entangled Publishing and is the Kindle Bestselling author of the Page Turners series, which includes the romantic comedies: Another Saturday Night & I Ain’t Got No Body, Easy Like Sunday Mourning, and Just Another Maniac Monday. Reviewers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and full of great characters that are “endearing and relatable.”



She writes from the mountains of Colorado where she lives with her husband, two sons, a golden retriever named Cooper and a Sheltie puppy named Maggie. Jennie enjoys being a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Colorado Indie Authors, and Pikes Peak Writers.



Jennie is addicted to Diet Coke and adores Cheetos. She loves playing volleyball and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes or friends.



Jennie loves to hear from readers.


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Jennie Marts is giving away two eBook Copies of Another Saturday Night and I Ain't Got No Body. For your chance to win, please enter the rafflecopter below.






Broken Embrace by Dana Mason



Genre: Romantic Suspense



Blurb: The Past…



As childhood sweethearts, Brian and Melissa's plans were simple: finish school, get married, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, life didn’t go as planned. Melissa went away to college, and Brian married her best friend.



The Present…



Seventeen years have passed and Brian's stable family life has come crashing down around him. His wife’s a cheater, his teenage daughter is hiding things from him and Melissa is back in town to remind him of what he lost all those years ago.



Melissa’s returned home, ready to forgive and focus on her future, but that all changes the day she gets a desperate phone call from Brian’s daughter, Erin. Thrown back into Brian’s tumultuous life, Melissa struggles to move beyond the pain of his broken promise.



The Future…



While working together to save Erin from the evil web she’s caught in, Melissa and Brian fight to fix the past or face losing each other all over again.







Brian stood with one hand on his daughter’s shoulder and one on his son’s, looking out over Erin’s bowed head. He felt like he’d been thrown back in time, back to a day he would never forget.



Their blond heads perfectly matched as they tilted toward each other in an iron embrace. He remembered the day like it was yesterday, the picture clear as the bright blue sky above. He knew right then—with every breath—he loved Melissa. Who gets this stuff at eight years old? He would’ve laughed at the idea if he had the energy. Who the hell understands what love is at eight? It didn’t make sense, but he couldn’t deny it.



Watching Melissa and Ali cry over their father’s coffin twenty-six years ago was so like today. There they stood, holding each other again, Ali’s hand reached out to Johnny’s, but her arm around Melissa, their heads together, crying all over again. He remembered how hard it had been for them both. He wanted to cry, too, and he did, for Ali and for Melissa. It hurt him in his soul to see the pain and tears in her eyes.



He looked again at Julie’s shining coffin glinting in the bright sun and wanted to kick himself for thinking about Melissa on this day, the very day he had to put his wife in the ground. If Julie could hear his thoughts, she would hate him. Ironically enough, so would Melissa. Melissa would never respect him, not after what he’d done to her, especially if she knew what he was thinking about now.



How did we get here? How did so many things change since that day? Nothing had turned out the way he’d planned. Back then, and for years after, his future was sure. He never doubted where life would lead him. But how could he regret? How could he—as he stood there with his kids—regret his family? Regret his life to this point? Regret Julie? No, he didn’t, of course not, but regret Melissa? Yes, he regretted losing Melissa. He loved Erin and Cody with his whole heart. He’d loved Julie, too, but Melissa was different. He couldn’t explain it, just different than Julie. Melissa held a part of his soul. To this day, she still gripped it in her hands. That part of him had been missing the day he’d proposed to Julie, and every day since then.



Melissa will always have it, even after she marries that jerk-off from Berkeley. Even then, she’ll still own a part of him. His stomach lurched at the thought of her with him, that puny, little clone with no heart or passion. Melissa was full of piss and vinegar, how long would it take this jerk to squash that out of her.



Is this what it felt like to Melissa? Had she felt this sinking, overwhelming sickness when she’d found out about him and Julie? Had she been living with it for all these years? Had her love for him been equal to his for her? He couldn’t remember if he’d ever told her how much he loved her. Did she know? Did that make everything harder for her? Did Julie understand how much he loved her? It’s too late to fix that—she’s gone—Jules is gone. Julie is dead! Did she understand how important she was to him? Even after the hateful things he’d said, he still loved her, and now she was gone.



Buy Links: Amazon       Barnes and Noble       Smashwords       iBooks       iTunes       Kobo






Dana Mason is happily settled in a small valley amongst the California grapevines with her husband and three children. Author of the romantic suspense, Embrace Series, she's written about a group of friends from Northern California who learn just how short life can be when you don't hold on to what's important. Second chances don't come easy...but sometimes love is worth the risk.



When not writing, Dana specializes in professional development and training. She's also a board member on the local Art's Council and does what she can to support the art community.



Author Links: Site      Facebook      Twitter      Tsu     Goodreads






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For a chance to win please fill out the rafflecopter below.



Days of Future Past by Sally Smith O’Rourke



Things are not always what they seem.

Fate sometimes conspires to right a decades-old wrong. The 6.8 earthquake that strikes Southern California one warm March night is the fateful event that brings family therapist Ann Hart and trauma specialist Ted McConaughy back together.

Twenty years after his betrayal caused the cancellation of their wedding, Ted finds himself in need of Ann’s help. The intense, recurring dreams that are invading his sleep are thought to be memories of past lives. And hypnotherapy, one of Ann’s specialties, may be the cure he seeks.

Their journey defies time and reason, forcing them to re-evaluate their capacity for love and forgiveness.


Chapter Eight

Thursday, March 13

The courtyard of Toni’s building was unnervingly quiet. The terrarium-like space with a waterfall-fed pond and stream stood silent and dry. The earthquake must have damaged the water system in the building. It made him wonder if Toni would even be in her office. There was no one around, but the faint sound of clanging metal hammering metal indicated that workers were there.

The door to Toni’s office stood partially open. If she wasn’t there would her door be open? Perhaps her last patient left and the next had not yet arrived. His footsteps seemed to echo in the stillness of the landscaped atrium. He stood at the open door gathering his courage, finally pushing it open the rest of the way.

The office reminded him of a study or library in an English manor house. The centerpiece of the room was a large desk, mahogany perhaps. A dusty rose leather chair sat behind it. At one end of the large room was a conversation area. There was a small oval table separating a loveseat and two comfortable looking chairs. Knowing Toni, he suspected several of the pieces were antique.

There was no trite theme like ‘English Country Cottage’ and no obvious color scheme either. It wasn’t the usual therapist’s office with blue or yellow walls with decorations that theoretically created a calming atmosphere. Like Toni, this room was warm and inviting. It was a gift she had, making people comfortable.

He stepped into the office. At the other end of the room was a spiral staircase of highly polished wood which led to a loft surrounded by railings matching the staircase. He assumed the earthquake had caused the empty shelves that lined the balcony.

He strained to see if she was upstairs and took a few steps backwards until he bumped into one of the chairs in the conversation area. There she was, sitting on the floor stacking books after wiping them off with a cloth. The sun streamed through the skylight highlighting glints of copper in her hair. She was wearing it up, accentuating the curve of her neck. He remembered how the chestnut tresses looked when they tumbled in soft waves over her shoulders and down her back. He sighed.

He hadn’t really seen her yesterday, so he didn’t realize how lovely she still was … yesterday! That was why he was here, to apologize for whatever it was he’d done. He sat on the arm of the closest chair and cleared his throat.

Ann glanced over her shoulder assuming it was one of the workmen who had been coming in and out since she arrived. She couldn’t have been more surprised. She got up and went to the railing.

“How did you find me?”

He blew out the breath he’d been holding. “My powers of deduction are quite remarkable these days … you’re listed in information.”

“Oh.” Her stomach was suddenly tied in knots.

“When did you change your name?”

“I got married, if it’s any of your business.”

“I meant your first name.”

“Ann is more professional than Toni.”

“Toni suits you.”

“It suited the child I was. What do you want?”

“I want to apologize.”

“For what?”

“Yesterday.”

Eager for him to leave, she rushed to say, “Apology accepted.” She hesitated a fraction of a moment. “You can go now,” she said and started to turn away.

“I’d like to talk.

“About what?”

“You could tell me what you’ve been doing.”

“I have no desire to have a conversation with you about anything, certainly not about my life.” She had the souvenir box from Big Bear in her hand, and she almost threw it at him, but controlled herself. “Look, I accepted the apology for your bizarre behavior yesterday, so why are you still here?”

Ted slipped off the arm of the chair into the seat. “Why are you so angry?”

She glared at him from her perch in the loft and could see in his eyes that he really didn’t know why. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, turning her back to the room. Why was she still angry after all these years? Uncle Jamie had tried many times to get her to purge the anger, but even through her happy years with Alex she held on to it. If she had a patient doing this, she’d be counseling to let it go. So why couldn’t she?

Her thoughts thus engaged and her back to the room she didn’t see Ted move from the conversation area to the foot of the stairs. She turned at the sound of an unfamiliar voice.

“Miss?”

Ann rubbed her eyes dry before turning. “What?”

Speaking with a soft Scottish brogue Ted said, “I would know your name.”

She stepped to the head of the stairs. “What?”

“Your name Miss, what is your name?”

Now, what was happening? Ted was standing there looking up at her, but it wasn’t Ted. What did that even mean? Assuming it would be like yesterday, she braced herself for another explosive confrontation. She looked into his eyes; it definitely wasn’t Ted looking back. What was going on? Whatever it was, she was concerned that he might become as volatile as he had been the day before so thought it best to play along until she could figure out what he was doing.

Slowly she said, “Ann Hart, my name is Ann Hart.”

He made a deep bow. “Andrew Mcnaughton, at your service, Miss Hart.” His mouth turned into a lopsided grin. “It is Miss, is it not?”

Baffled, but trying to elicit information, she sidestepped his question and asked one of her own. “How do you come to be here Mr. Mcnaughton?”

Continuing in the Scottish brogue he hesitantly answered, “The same way you did, Miss Hart. I boarded at Glasgow.”

“Scotland?”

He chuckled. Obviously it was Scotland for where else would they have been? “Yes. We left Glasgow under full sail at eventide yesterday, and with God’s speed shall arrive in Antigua three weeks hence.” He looked up at her rather quizzically and asked, “Are you in need of the ship’s physician, Miss Hart?”

Unsure what to say about any of it she asked, “Why do you ask?”

“As you are aboard a ship but have no memory of it, I thought perhaps you were in need of medical assistance.”

Still thinking that playing along would answer some questions she responded, “I am quite well, thank you, however, as you suggest I do seem to have lost some time. Can you tell me the date?

“It is, as of the midnight hour, the tenth of May in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and five.”

A loud rap on the open door made both Ann and Ted turn. A man in gray work clothes looked up at her. “Saw your door standing open, Doc, wanted to check that nothing was amiss.” He looked through squinty eyes at Ted. “Are you all right?”

Ann looked down at Ted, who looked up at her. He was back. He was Ted again. She turned to the workman. “I’m fine. Thanks, Sam.”

Glaring at Ted, he said, “Okay, just makin’ sure.” He left, looking over his shoulder as he went.

Once the workman was gone, she asked, “What’s going on with you?”

Trying to recovery gracefully, from what he wasn’t sure, he answered her question with, “What do you mean?” He glanced around. Before Ann could answer him he said, “How did I get over here?”

“You walked.”

“I guess I mean, why am I over here?”

“Well, you should say what you mean, and mean what you say.”

“Hmmm, I believe we’ve had that conversation before.” She couldn’t help but smile, remembering their first meeting.

She was about to ask him about his odd behavior again, when he cleared his throat and pulled the rose out of the pocket of his jacket. He took a few more steps up the stairs, and then held it out to her. “I brought this as a bit of a peace offering. It reminded me of you.”

His sporadic and peculiar behavior was pushed to a back burner, and curiosity now replaced her anger. Hesitantly she said, “It’s beautiful.” It was almost a question. Taking a few steps down, she accepted the proffered bloom, “I’ve never seen a rose this color. Where did you get it?”

“The Huntington Library.”

“I didn’t know the Huntington sold individual blossoms like this.”

Quietly and with downcast eyes he admitted, “I didn’t buy it, exactly.”

“Exactly?” Realization struck, and her eyes popped wide open. “You picked it!?! You stole it from the rose garden?”

He looked, for all the world, like a small boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Then she saw a smile come into his eyes that spoke of satisfaction. She couldn’t help herself; she laughed.

“I’ve never been given a pilfered rose before.” She smiled.

It was nice that she wasn’t angry about it. “I couldn’t resist it.”

“I could probably have your library membership revoked and have you banned permanently from even being allowed in.”

“But you wouldn’t, would you?”

Unable to deny her amusement, Ann conceded that she would not. The ‘girl on the swing’ clock chimed the half hour. Ted glanced at his watch.

“I need to go,” he said as he took the few steps still separating them. “It was wonderful seeing you again.” He leaned in and kissed her cheek then rushed down the stairs. At the door he turned back, “I’ll call you,” he said and left.

Ann’s mind was in complete turmoil. But when she calmed down and thought about it for a second, she found that she really enjoyed the exchange. She sat on the step in the middle of the staircase, and inhaled the fragrance of the rose. A pilfered flower. She shook her head, making no effort to stop the grin from spreading across her face. She was amazed at how comfortable it was being with him, but even more amazed that she wanted to hear from him.

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“Where shall I begin? Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first?” (J.A. June 15, 1808)

That I reside in the Victorian village of Monrovia, California; a mere two miles from my place of employment. A local hospital where I spend most daylight hours in the operating room as a scrub nurse.

That I am a native Californian, having been born in Glendale, and spent most of my life here with a relatively short span of years in Reno, Nevada where I attended school. Returning after graduation I have remained in sunny SoCal.

That I was widowed some time ago. That I have very domestic hobbies like sewing, cooking, baking, candy making and cake decorating. Oh, yes I write, too. Mike, my late husband and teacher, taught me that writing has to be treated like a job so every day no matter how tired I am I edit, research one or more projects and write.

That I have finished the sequel to The Man Who Loves Jane Austen with Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen; have started a story of reincarnation that takes place in Pasadena, CA and am making notes for a ghost story set in San Francisco. Three stories running around in my head and often colliding but I untangle the debris and continue on.

There you have a few of my nothings.

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Mar 24, 2015

The Mortal One by Shannon Bell





Genre: Paranormal Romance




The Mortal One Series follows Dylan, a woman who is trying to find herself, across Europe. After a run-in with a wannabe vampire in Romania and gives up on their existence, Dylan is cornered by Nico, a real vampire, in Florence. Nico catches her and her heart by surprise. She is suddenly brought into vampire politics at their worst. She needs to receive a mark to keep her safe, but there is another vampire Olivier, who is trying to claim her as well. He has his reasons for doing this and she is faced with who the best vampire is to be with.






“Before I could scream, several things happened. He pressed himself down the front of me, sandwiching me between his hard body and the equally hard brick wall. Then the vampire’s mouth descended onto mine, kissing me with a crushing intensity lasting for at least half a minute. Somewhere during the kiss, I rose up on my toes to meet his lips.



The commotion at the other end of the alley stopped. He withdrew from the kiss as quickly as it had begun. I watched him take a step back and lick his lips to savor the taste. I backed myself against the wall to steady myself and pressed my palms flat against the cold brick. The kiss left me breathless. Not because it was from a vampire, but because it was powerful. No one’s ever kissed me like that. If Chris had, I might have fought to stay with him.



I fought the urge to run my fingers through his short waves and press my lips against his again. I also fought the urge to turn and run in the opposite direction because I was attracted to a vampire.



“That was not meant to happen.” He looked past me, purposefully avoiding my gaze.



I took in a very shaky breath. What was that?



“The shop owner you saw earlier hadn’t seen you walk past again. He was checking to see if you were okay. He would have called the police if he thought you were in danger. It was the only way to be convincing.” Niccol├│ looked away as he didn’t believe what he was saying, either.



“Oh,” was all I could manage out. I couldn’t get my mind to make any coherent thoughts. It made sense he didn’t want to get caught, but a kiss? I wasn’t complaining, which should have meant that I was completely insane.



Normal people don’t want to be kissed by a vampire who’s about to kill them!



“You are one of the strangest mortals I’ve ever met.”



I needed to get better at keeping my thoughts to myself. The fact he could read my mind was getting annoying and more than a little embarrassing.



“You’re one of the strangest vampires I’ve ever met.” I countered.



He laughed again. “I’m the only vampire you’ve ever met.”



“True,” I hesitated. “But how can you want to kill me in one moment and kiss me the next?” I probably should have kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to remind him of his original plan.



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Shannon Bell grew up in Florida and has always dreamed about vampires - and still secretly hopes they exist. She is married to someone who tolerates her crazy story-telling about Romania and has a daughter she hopes will have the same enthusiasm for vampires when she grows up.



Shannon has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida as well as an online degree in vampirology. She is a full-time writer and currently hard at work on her next novel.



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Mar 20, 2015

Blush by Anne Mercier





Genre: Contemporary Romance





*DISCLAIMER* This is not a dark romance. There will be minimal angst or drama. There will be lots of laughs, frequent dropping of the F-bomb, and crazy monkey sex.



You know how people say they woke up in Vegas married and you're like, how the hell could that possibly happen? Who does that? Well, us apparently… and the press is having a field day.



Let's not even get started on the topic of my mother. Then there's my grandpa wanting to meet my new husband--that's not scary at all. On top of that, we're heading out on tour and I'm a nervous wreck--factor in the fact that Jesse's newly changed marital status doesn't seem to be an issue for the groupies. Nothing deters them. Not even the fact that I'm standing right there when they proposition him.



I can handle the press, my mom, and even my grandpa. But the women who are ruining my current mood of "happy", well, they've got another thing coming. It's time to put these women in their place because nobody messes with my happily ever after.



Lucy and Jesse continue in Blush, Rockstar #2.








Lucy's POV



“I'VE GOT IT,“ Xander shouts and bangs his fist on the table in the quaint little diner.



“What have you got? Herpes?“ Meggie asks with a snort.



“Ha, ha. No, smart ass, I've got our title.“



“What title?“ Sera asks.



“Well, you know how PR goes through and gives the tour some fancy schmancy title, usually based on the album title?“



“Yeah,“ Cage tells him. “I think we've got that handled.“



“Dude, Cage. No. I've got the title for our tour.“



Cage lifts a brow. “Yeah? What is it?“



“The BFD tour.“



Meggie snorts.



“The what?“ Cage asks.



“The BFD tour. See, technically it can be the Blush-Falling Down tour but really what we'll be calling it is the Big Fucking Deal tour.“



“Um, Xander?“ I say.



“Yeah, Luce, what's up?“



“Well, the big fucking deal thing? That can be construed as it's really not a big fucking deal.“



He waves a hand at me. “Luce. We're talking about us. There is no mistaking that.“



“True, true.“



“So what do you say, Cage my man? The BFD tour?“ Xander asks with a grin.



“Yeah, Xander, I just don't see that working. We can't have profanity in the slogan for the tour.“



“Dude, no one needs to know it's profanity.“



“Everyone knows that BFD means big fucking deal, Xander,“ Sera tells him with a laugh.



Xander pouts for a second and silence fills the diner. Then he perks up. “You know what? Fuck you all. I'm going to slogan the shit out of this tour all by myself and informally call it the BFD tour. That's going to catch on so much better than whatever bullshit your PR asshats are cooking up, Cage, and you know it. The BFD tour is going to be a big fucking deal!“



“Fuck yeah it is,“ Jesse agrees with a fist bump. Everyone else fist bumps as well.



“That's pretty freaking clever, Xan my man,“ I tell him and he preens. Seriously, he preens.



Cage blows out a breath. “I guess there's no choice then is there?“



“None,“ Xander smirks.



Cage nods. “The Blush-Falling Down aka BFD tour it is.“



“This is going to be fucking awesome,“ Ethan says.



“No, no dude,“ Xander corrects. “It's going to be a big fucking deal!“



“We're going to have to listen to this until the tour's over aren't we?“ Sera asks, leaning over and whispering in my ear.



I sigh. “I'm afraid so. Xander's on a roll and we don't want to hurt his feelings. I hate when he gets all pouty.“



Sera nods. “Okay.“



A few minutes later Sera shouts out, “BFD!“



And Xander answers her with a fist bump and a really loud, “Yeah baby! B effing D!“



Cage wipes a hand over his face and shakes his head in disbelief. “Bitches, fuckers, skank-ass-hoes, groupie whores, and big fucking deal. You all are going to get me fined for sure, possibly even sued.“



Sera bumps his shoulder with hers. “Should make for an interesting tour, huh?“



Cage laughs. “That it will, Sunshine. That it will.“




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First and foremost I am an avid reader of romance. I read every single day. Without reading I wouldn’t be inspired to write. The same can be said about music. I started reading with Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown’s LoveSwept titles forever ago and went from reading solely traditionally published to reading nearly all indie authors. I still read my Nora and a few others. A must.



I started seriously writing about six years ago when the need to get the stories that are stuck in my head on paper became overwhelming.



I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.



I’m a huge fan of music, chocolate, fruit, Fall, Matt Shadows, Avenged Sevenfold, and Milo Ventimiglia.


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Fire Above by C. H. MacLean



I love her so much, I'd risk anything.

She and I don't have names. We're just slaves, after all. But our hearts don't care, and we're lucky, we have a chance at a scrap of happiness in our terrible lives. My father is the Queen's pet.

But when my love discovers the lords' newest atrocity, she lashes out, does the unthinkable, and attacks one of them. Her courage is heroic, but now they have stuffed her in prison, getting ready to slaughter her.

With nothing to lose, I dare to dream of a life far from the lords. I fight for our freedom, and escape to the woods with my love. We can do no less than free all of our people in the effort.

Our flight through the woods is only the start of our journey. The lords’ flaming attacks, their deception, the loss of so many of my people—I don't know if I will survive, or if I even want to. But for my love, I will do almost anything, even battle the fire above.



My father opened the small door and his eyes lit up for a brief second. He must be alone. We were still in the hall, though, so I said, “I live to serve.”

“I live to serve,” he said, moving aside and ushering me in.

His office always looked the same. Fireballs hovering in the corners cast flickering but bright light around the small room. Baskets of tally sticks lined the room in an order only he understood, stacks of the thin sheets of metal the lords used to hold language on the one table in the room. No chair or decoration. Looking like a storage closet, this room saw most of the information about the empire.

Inside, my father relaxed a hair. He gave me a half-smile and put one hand on my shoulder. “Where were you?” he said in low tones. “They need a runner to go to the far southeast village.”

“The lords wanted to collect a package from oldest brother's house,” I said. “They Called his youngest.”

“Already?” he said, his eyes falling. All three of my grandsons, I heard him think. I thought I had more time. He thought about telling me something else, something serious. Once again I considered telling him I could hear his thoughts, so he might as well just talk to me. Once again, I rejected the idea. My ability was close to magic, and everyone knew only lords could use magic. I loved my father, but didn't know how he would react.

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To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You'll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.'s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She's just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.”  C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren't respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.'s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn't leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I'm not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.'s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it's not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or...” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five pets, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

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