EXCERPT: Blood Slave by Kathleen Collins

The zombie Pomeranian yipped at Nathaniel in between growling and tugging at the leg of his jeans. Juliana pulled her foot back to kick the creature away from her friend and made ready to bring her sword down on it as soon as it was clear.

“Don’t,” Nathaniel protested as he held up a still-clawed hand. “You might hurt it.”

Her brows arched up into her hairline. “That would be the general idea.” The thing growled again and she looked down at it where it was doing its utmost to gnaw a hole through Nathaniel’s jeans. And she wasn’t entirely sure it would stop when it got to skin. I realize you have a particu-lar kinship with all things canine, but it’s gnawing on your leg.”

“Just my jeans.” Now back in fully human form, he bent and disengaged the dog from the denim.

“Easy there, boy. Good dog.” When the Pomeranian continued to express its displeasure with the situation in general and Nathaniel in particular, he lifted the beast above his head, looked at it nose to nose and growled back. Evidently recognizing an alpha even in its altered state, the dog curled in on itself and whimpered before darting its tongue out to lick Nathaniel’s nose. Juliana grimaced. Zombie breath couldn’t be pretty.

“See, he doesn’t mean any harm,” her friend said as he tucked the abomination under one arm. Their scruffy brown hair made them look surprisingly similar.

She blinked at him in disbelief before taking another look at the creature in question. When she bent closer, it growled and she straightened with a huff. “She.”

“What?”

“She. Name tag says Fifi. Last time I checked that was a girl’s name.”

Nathaniel snorted in derision. “Fifi. What a prissy name.”

“Hate to break it to you, partner, but that is a prissy dog. And it smells like mold.”


Blood Slave

Realm Walker Series

Book 3

Kathleen Collins

 

Can she find a killer in a town where the basest desires are allowed to run free?

There are zombies in the Dead Zone and Juliana Norris is sent to take care of the problem. And for there to be zombies, there had to be bodies. When vampires are found to be the culprits, Juliana is sent undercover in the red light district of Kansas City. Lying to her mate, Thomas Kendrick, isn’t something she wants to do, but she’s in another vampire’s territory and Thomas would not be pleased. Besides, she’s more than capable of doing the job and she needs to prove it to everyone. Most of all herself.

Charles Morgan is in control of the Kansas City area, making a rich living off his various enterprises. Juliana goes undercover at the strip club Lust and gets sucked into his dark, decadent world. More victims turn up and the Agency is positive they’ve got their man, but Juliana is not so sure. When the Agency refuses to listen, she reluctantly turns to Thomas for help. He intervenes but finds Juliana unaware of the danger she is in and discovers she may just be too deep for him to save.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathleen Collins lives and works in Missouri. By day, she labors in the local prosecutor’s office. At night she writes while surrounded by her husband, two boys and two loveable mutts. She is constantly thinking of her next project and loves to connect with her readers. You can fine her most often on Facebook or on her website.

www.Kathleencollins.net

@kathy_collins

www.facebook.com/kathleencollinsauthor

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191208.Kathleen_Collins

EXCERPT: Put a Ring On It by K. A. Mitchell |

PPutARingOnItLGut a Ring on It

Ready or Knot

Book One

K.A. Mitchell

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Date of Publication: September 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63476-380-6 Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-63476-381-3 eBook

Number of pages: 204

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Kieran Delaney-Schwartz—adoptee, underachiever, and self-professed-slacker IT guy—lives his under-the-radar life by the motto: Don’t try, don’t fail. His adopted siblings are all overachievers thanks to his driven, liberal parents, but Kieran has elected to avoid disappointing anyone by not getting their hopes up. He’s coasting through his early twenties when he’s hit head-on by Theo. The successful decade-older Broadway producer sweeps him off his feet for a whirlwind thirteen months that are pretty sweet, until it all comes screeching to a halt on Valentine’s Day, with an unexpected proposal via an NYC Times Square flash mob. Now everyone wants in on the wedding, except the grooms….


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EXCERPT

KIERAN’S PHONE buzzed incessantly in his pocket, and he glared at his khakis as if he could see through to the caller. What part of ‘away from my desk’ is confusing to you people?

It was his own fault for violating his core principle: Success invariably leads to diminished returns. He’d done one job well because it was interesting, and now everyone in the building wanted the Korean IT Guy With the Hair to be the one who showed up when they yelled for help.

He sank down against the wall until he sat folded, head on his knees. He’d hide out in the server room, at least until the afternoon sleepies hit around two and they all started playing their Facebook games. In fact, as long as they could get online to Facebook, probably no one would notice if everything else on the servers went dark.

This room had a consistently cool temperature, perfect humidity control, and top-of-the-line filters. His nose and eyes never itched when he was in here. The constant rush of the fans blotted out any outside noise.

The phone buzzed again, a steady rhythm. He should have put it on silent.

Just audible over the white noise of the fans, keys jangled outside, then scraped against the door. Not a lot of people had keys to the server room, but most of the ones who did could fire him. He rolled onto his knees and slid across the floor, pulled out a screwdriver, and prepared to look busy.

A voice came to him now—Shanara, the office manager. As bosses went, she wasn’t a bad one, but Kieran still figured hiding and ignoring his phone would probably get him reported to the head of IT, who was a total dick.

“Someone said they saw him headed this way.”

“Thank you for all your help, Shanara.”

Kieran dropped the screwdriver. What the hell was Theo doing here, thirty blocks away from where Kieran thought he was? His brain raced through multiple possibilities. Theo had met Kieran’s family, but why would Theo have been the one to come if something had happened to one of them?

“My pleasure, Mr. Medina.”

“Theo, please.”

The door opened. Kieran straightened from picking up his screwdriver and caught Theo’s wink square in the chest.

There it was again. That funny jolt that Kieran was sure his sister, the epidemiologist, could explain resulted through neurotransmitters, conditioned responses, and hormone dumps. But since Siobhan had been in Sierra Leone for the past eight months working to contain the latest Ebola outbreak, she was a little busy for stupid questions about why Kieran’s heart jumped when his boyfriend looked at him like that.

As cheerful as Theo usually was, Kieran was pretty sure Theo wouldn’t wink if something bad had happened. It didn’t explain why he was suddenly next to Shanara in the door to the server room.

Hi seemed like a safer bet than What the fuck are you doing here? so he went with that.

“Hey, I wanted to take you to lunch.” Theo’s smile didn’t affect Kieran’s nervous system like that look could, but it was definitely an autonomous response that made Kieran smile back. “I planned to do it tomorrow, but it’s the understudy’s first matinee and I need to be there.”

“You’re so lucky, Kieran.” Shanara had a smile a bit brighter than her usual professional one. Theo had the same effect on other people. “My boyfriend probably won’t even remember.”

Kieran was already in the same boat with Shanara’s boyfriend. Then he saw the rose Theo produced from behind his back, and Kieran’s brain latched on to the significance. Valentine’s Day was this weekend.

Theo turned and offered the rose to Shanara. “If you can spare him.”

She held the paper-wrapped stem in the space between them. “I thought this was for Kieran.”

Theo sighed. “He’s allergic to flowers. And romance. But I’m working on him.”

Kieran shoved his glasses up on his nose and glared, only to get smacked with another Theo wink, which induced a helpless shake of his head.

“It might take some time….” Theo trailed off and glanced at Shanara.

Her smile was broad, sharpening her cheeks. “You have personal leave banked, right, Kieran?” Barely pausing for his agreement, she said, “I’ll write you as out for the afternoon, let Todd know.”

Kieran nodded. The less he had to deal with the asshole director of IT, the better. Especially now that Kieran was in high demand.

“Thank you so much, Shanara.” Theo handed her a business card. “Just present that at the Will Call window any time and they’ll take care of you.”

“Thank you, Theo. Be sure to lock up the server room, Kieran.”

Shanara shut the door, which had an auto lock, so Kieran was puzzling over her order when Theo put his hands behind Kieran’s neck and kissed him.

A typical Theo kiss, warm, open, inviting Kieran to decide if it was going deeper.

Kieran put his hands on Theo’s back, under his coat, touched the velvety fleece, and breathed in the rich leather scent from his shoulder. The heavy wool coat Theo had been wearing when they met vanished immediately when Kieran confessed his allergy to it.

When Kieran drew back, Theo released him with a leer. “Cozy in your little den, here.”

Kieran shook his head. “The servers are sensitive to humidity. I’m pretty sure that includes jizz.”

“I’m insulted. I never spill a drop.”

Theo said it mockingly, but the reminder of how incredible Theo was at sucking dick stirred a tingle in Kieran’s balls.

“Yeah.” Theo leaned to brush his forehead against Kieran’s. “You’re thinking about it now.”

He was right. Because Theo was damned good at reading Kieran. The first person ever who bothered to pay enough attention to figure out—and offer—what Kieran wanted.

A nooner sounded interesting, but they certainly weren’t doing it in the server room.

“Thought you said we were going to lunch?”

“I did. Are you hungry?”

Kieran shrugged. He could eat, but he didn’t want Theo to think Kieran expected a lobster dinner just because he was peckish. Theo liked making people happy. He wasn’t a pushover or anything. Kieran had heard him get pissed enough to snap at people on the phone. Once when he met Theo at the theater, Kieran had heard him go off in a rage about a delivery of light bulbs. So scratch that. Theo was nice to most people, but he liked trying to make Kieran happy. And that didn’t suck at all.

The look in Theo’s eyes did that thing to Kieran’s circulatory system again as Theo tugged him toward the door. “Come on, then.” 

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

K.A. Mitchell discovered the magic of writing at an early age when she learned that a carefully crayoned note of apology sent to the kitchen in a toy truck would earn her a reprieve from banishment to her room. Her career as a spin-control artist was cut short when her family moved to a two-story house and her trucks would not roll safely down the stairs. Around the same time, she decided that Chip and Ken made a much cuter couple than Ken and Barbie and was perplexed when invitations to play Barbie dropped off. She never stopped making stuff up, though, and was surprised to find out that people would pay her to do it. Although the men in her stories usually carry more emotional baggage than even LAX can lose in a year, she guarantees they always find their sexy way to a happy ending.

K.A. loves to hear from her readers.

She is often found talking about her imaginary friends on Twitter @ka_mitchell

http://www.kamitchell.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2746690.K_A_Mitchell

https://www.facebook.com/authorkamitchell

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GUEST BLOG: Christy Carlyle on Writing a Book Lover’s Romance

Christy Carlyle on Writing a Book Lover’s Romance
One Scandalous Kiss Banner 851 x 315

Books have been a preoccupation since I was a kid. My grandfather collected books, and Grandma taught me to read long before I started kindergarten. Books were my favorite birthday gifts, and going to the library always seemed like a bit of an adventure. Maybe it had something to do with being an only child. Reading kept me entertained and gave me a place to let my imagination soar.

Our collection of books tends to grow as we do, reflecting our changing tastes, perhaps evolving into a stash of “keepers” as we cull some and acquire others. My books have followed me through countless moves, even overseas and back, and they multiply every year. When I moved two years ago, one of the moving guys actually grumbled, “I hope you enjoy your books!” as he carried the umpteenth book box up into my second floor apartment.

As a reader, I like encountering characters who love to read as much as I do. I’m also intrigued by any story with a writer hero or heroine. When a character is portrayed as a book lover, I feel an instant connection, relating to them more easily and rooting for them more readily.

When the idea for my first Avon Impulse historical romance, One Scandalous Kiss, popped into my head, I knew my heroine, Jessamin Wright, would be a book lover. She ended up being a book seller too, with a failing bookshop inherited from her father. I wanted her to be someone whose life had been affected by the power of books. She believes in women’s rights, so Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is near and dear to her heart, but during the story she reveals that Charles Dickens is her favorite author. Jess even asks Lucius, the hero, to name his favorite book. His choice gives her insight into his heart and mind.

As a reader, do you enjoy encountering characters who love to read as much as you do?


EXCERPT

London, September 1890

She’d never imagined wealth would be so uncomfortable. Nearly every aspect of the Marquess of Clayborne’s Belgrave Square drawing room made Jessamin Wright uneasy. There were no books stacked in piles, no candles whose wax had run down their sides in haphazard sculptures, and not a spot of ash dusting the hearth—nothing inviting about the room at all. How could any lived-in space be so clean? The slippery damask settee felt stiff and unyielding beneath her body. Nothing about it urged you to sit and stop awhile. Even art was lacking from the walls, except for a series of watercolors of what must have been a terribly boring fox hunt. A fire burned low in the grate and offered a bit of warmth against the autumn chill, but the cool beiges and tepid pinks of the wallpaper and furnishings made Jess feel slightly queasy, as if blood had been drained from her body as thoroughly as color had been drawn out of every surface in the room. Even the wood was light colored or painted white and lacquered to a high sheen. It was all wrong. No room should be so spotless. As she and Alice had yet to meet their host, she began to doubt that anyone lived here at all. Then again, she’d never before set foot inside a fine London townhouse. Perhaps they were all this stark and unpleasant.

Jess didn’t have to look down to know the room’s pristine neatness contrasted sharply with her scuffed boots, soot-dusted cloak, and unfashionable work clothes. She found it impossible to settle herself in such elegant surroundings. Sitting, then standing, then sitting again, she rearranged her limbs and scratched her neck in a most unladylike manner. Finally finding a spot on the settee that suited her, she stripped off her twice-mended gloves but kept her hands clasped, careful not to touch anything for fear she might leave a mark.

Her cluttered thoughts offered as little comfort as the room. She fretted about leaving the bookshop managed solely by her assistant, Jack. He was a longtime employee and utterly trustworthy, but he’d never been fond of dealing with customers. He simply loved books—acquiring them, reading them, repairing them—and that was something she understood. He hadn’t stayed on after Father’s death for her, but out of loyalty to Lionel Wright. She understood that too. One of Father’s gifts had been the ability to inspire a bone deep sense of obligation in others. Since Jess had taken on the shop, other employees had been hard to come by—few men wished to take their wages and direction from a woman.

Slipping Father’s old watch from its place in her skirt pocket, Jess’s mind sifted through what she had yet to accomplish before resting her head for the day. It was a long list and —Ah, that too—now included an article she’d almost forgotten to write for the Women’s Union journal.

“I hope Lady Katherine hasn’t forgotten us. To be honest, I won’t be sad to see the last of this room. It’s all rather cold, even with the fire. Makes you afraid to touch anything or even breathe.”

Alice McGregor had an uncanny talent for reading one’s mind and could always be counted on for blunt and insightful commentary. Of all Jessamin’s friends at the Women’s Union, Alice was the most practical and plain-speaking. Delicacy was overrated as far as Alice was concerned. She said what everyone else was thinking but knew it impolite to mention.

“No, it’s not terribly inviting, is it?”

If Jess could decorate such a room, the colors would be bold and full of life. Red would do very nicely. And she’d decorate the walls with art so vivid you’d believe you could smell the pot of basil in a Holman Hunt painting or hear the swish of silk and satin as one of Mr. Tissot’s beauties crossed the room. She closed her eyes and imagined crimson walls covered with art in rich, vibrant colors.

“Miss Wright, have I caught you napping?” Lady Katherine Adderly’s giggle was like the clash of two crystal glasses meeting in a toast. Sharp and clear, it instantly snapped Jessamin out of her fantasies.

As she swept in, a maid followed close on her heels with a tea tray. Lady Katherine smelled of flowers, but far too many, the scent cloying and sickly sweet.

“Forgive me, my lady.” It was easier for Jessamin to apologize for drowsing than acknowledge how she loathed the decor.

Jess and Alice exchanged raised-brow glances as their hostess handed each of them a fine porcelain teacup and began the process of pouring tea and offering them confections from plates laden with biscuits and tiny pastries. It was an elaborate ritual, much more fuss about tea than Jess had ever made in life. But the rich tang of jasmine in the brew was delicious and she was grateful for the distraction of the warm refreshment, even as she sensed the persistent tick of Father’s watch against her skirt pocket. She had to get back to the shop and hoped their meeting with the marquess’s daugther wouldn’t take long.

“I’m pleased to make this donation to the Women’s Union. You know how I enjoy the lively meetings.”

Lady Katherine had attended only three of the group’s weekly meetings over the course of four months, but she’d been eager to make a financial contribution and Alice, as the union’s treasurer and co-founder, was all too happy to accept. Jess wasn’t certain why Alice had asked her to come along to collect the money, but as editor of the group’s printed journal and author of many of the speeches given at gatherings, she supposed she was a visible member of the organization.

“We are most grateful for the funds, my lady.” As always Alice spoke with sincerity, gratitude clear in her tone.

“Oh, please call me Kitty.”

Alice took a sip of tea, attempting to hold the cup with all the dignity  Kitty seemed to manage effortlessly.

“I understand there’s another worthy cause to which I may also contribute.”

“I’m sure there are many in London,” Jess offered, thinking of a dozen ways she might spend charitable funds, not to mention the money needed to salvage the indebted bookshop her father had left her.

“I was referring to you, Miss Wright.”

Jessamin shot Alice a look, wondering just what her scrupulously honest friend had revealed to Lady Katherine.

“I understand you have a bookshop and lending library here in town.”

“Yes, my lady,” Jess bit off, unable to keep the irritation from her voice. Alice shouldn’t have mentioned her situation to anyone. Kitty might be feeling benevolent, but the amount needed to clear the shop’s debt was more than any wealthy aristocrat’s daughter would wish to spend, no matter how generous they were feeling.

“Would one hundred pounds be useful to you?”

A shiver tickled Jessamin’s spine as she contemplated the amount, a sum she couldn’t earn at the shop in months, perhaps not even in a year. It wasn’t nearly enough to clear the entire debt, but it would bring her payments with the bank current.

Jessamin studied Kitty’s feline smile and tried to unravel the mystery of the young woman’s wish to help her. She knew Kitty was wealthy, the daughter of a marquess, and perhaps a bit bored, but she’d never even conversed with her before today. Kitty was mentioned off and on in the scandal sheets Jess admitted to no one she indulged in reading, but she was hardly known as an outstanding philanthropist.

Charity tasted sour, yet how could she refuse the sum?

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be” had been one of Father’s favorite lines from Hamlet. But it was an adage he’d failed to uphold. His gambling had turned him into the worst sort of borrower, taking loans from friends and money from the bookshop he’d worked so hard to build up. For Jess’s part, she’d become a lender soon after her father’s death, finally instituting the lending library she’d been envisioning for years. It seemed neither of them had heeded the Shakespearian admonition at all.

Kitty watched Jess closely and appeared to notice the moment she’d almost made up her mind to accept the money.

“I am so pleased you’ll allow me to help you, Jessamin. And in return, I’m certain you won’t mind assisting me with one tiny request.”

Alice frowned and set her teacup on the table between them, edging forward on the settee as if she meant to get up and leave. “I’m not sure that’s quite right.”

“What is the favor, Lady Katherine? Please, let’s speak plainly with one another.” It didn’t surprise Jess in the least that Kitty expected something in return. No one offered such a sum without expecting something in return.

“Kitty, please. Do call me Kitty. It’s a simple favor, really. As simple as a kiss.”

Jess choked. “Pardon?” she squeaked, when she’d finally managed to swallow her mouthful of tea and could breathe again.

“Just a kiss, Jessamin. Surely you don’t object to kissing.” Kitty’s teasing tone belied the glint of steel in her gaze. “You’re a modern, free-thinking woman, after all. You believe in the suffrage and equality for our sex. You should feel quite free to kiss any man you like.”

Kissing men had nothing to do with Jess’s interest in social reform or gaining a voice for women in the political sphere. If Kitty thought it did, she hadn’t been to nearly enough meetings.

“You want me to kiss a man?” Jess spoke the words as if it was an extraordinary feat. And it was. She’d never kissed a man. Not really. A childish, graceless kiss on the cheek from Tom Jenkins when she was twelve years old hardly counted.

“This seems a rather strange favor, Kitty.” Alice’s precise tone cut through the quiet of the room.

Kitty’s tinkling laughter rang out. “Yes, I suppose it does. But it’s merely a harmless bit of revenge.”

“Revenge.” Jess waited. There had to be more.

“Oh, all right. If you must know, the dreadful man snubbed me.” Kitty plumped her bow-shaped mouth in a pout.

Was she the shallowest heiress in Belgravia? The thought that Kitty wished to seek revenge because a man did not prefer her company was ridiculous. Her beauty and wealth could secure her any suitor she set her cap at. In fact, the question of why the man rejected her was as intriguing as her desire for Jess to kiss him.

“Why did he snub you?”

“Why, indeed!” Kitty straightened up in her chair and slid her fingers into honey blond hair, tucking her already neatly pinned coiffure more firmly into place. “Perhaps because he is an odious man. If he wasn’t a viscount, soon to be an earl, and so irredeemably handsome, I wouldn’t have bothered with him. Never mind Papa’s mad notion I marry Lord Grim. Freddie is much more fun, even if he doesn’t have a farthing to his name.” Kitty turned the full force of her bright green gaze on Jess. “You’ll do it then?”

“I’m still not sure I understand.”

Kitty’s tone became pedantic, as if she was speaking to a child who needed to be set aright.

“My dear, it couldn’t be simpler. Viscount Grimsby snubbed me at a soiree last week and I would like your help to put him in his place. He’s a dour man, as cold as marble. Some call him Lord Grim. And so he is. Grim and heartless. He needs a little comeuppance.” As an afterthought, she added, “He’s against the vote for women, of course.”

As if that made the whole ridiculous scheme noble. As if kissing him would change his mind about women’s suffrage.

“And where does kissing come into play?” It all sounded wrong to Jess, like the discordant notes of an untuned piano playing over and over in her mind, but Kitty waved away her concern dismissively.

“It won’t be a real kiss, my dear. Not the kind that matters. Just a kiss that knocks him off his pedestal a bit. It will cause him a trifle of social bother. Stir up some tittle tattle.”

For a moment Kitty’s expression altered, the corners of her mouth turning down as if she’d fallen into troubled contemplation. Jess wondered if she was already regretting her petty scheme? Then she lifted her head, a satisfied cat-at-the-cream grin lifting her cheeks.

“The next time I see the man at a ball, perhaps he’ll manage a bit of humility. And since no one else will wish to stand up with him, I suspect he’ll be more than happy to dance with me.”

None of Kitty’s words put Jess’s mind at ease. She’d never heard of Lord Grimsby but from Kitty’s description, kissing the man certainly didn’t sound appealing.

“I happen to know he’ll be at an art gallery in Mayfair this evening.”

“And?” Jess was growing impatient. Who had time for games when she had a business to run?

“There will be a gathering at the gallery. Mrs. Ornish is a great fan of art and has sponsored one of the artists whose works will be featured. I do wonder why he always goes to Mrs. Ornish’s events. Could he have his eye on Meredith, do you think?”

Of course, Jess had no idea who Mrs. Ornish or Meredith was. She might share their love of art, but they were the kind of women with wealth enough to offer an artist patronage. Jess couldn’t even afford to buy a painting. Her walls were decorated with cut-out prints culled from books and newspapers.

“Kitty, please just tell me. What must I do?”

Kitty’s crooked her mouth alluringly. Jess supposed she used the simpering expression to charm everyone. Everyone except Lord Grimsby, apparently.

“I want you to show up at the gallery event and stride up to Lord Grim. Yes, you’ll just walk up and plant a kiss square on that cruel, unsmiling mouth of his.”

“I really don’t think—“Alice’s voice had taken on the same pitch and volume she used to quiet the women’s group meetings.

Jess knew what she was going to say and cut her off. “Wait. Let me consider a moment.”

Jess closed her eyes and breathed deeply. She had to do it. She needed the one hundred pounds Kitty offered. There was no denying what the woman proposed was scandalous, not to mention farcical and childish. But Jess had no reputation to protect. As Kitty said, she saw herself as a free-thinking woman, unhampered by society’s strictures and eager for changing women’s roles. She had no idea how kissing a complete stranger would strike a blow for woman’s rights, but she knew her desperation for funds made her beholden to Kitty’s whims.

“Come, Jessamin.” Kitty’s sing song voice was cajoling. “I dare you.”

Because Jess’s speeches encouraged action over words, perhaps Kitty saw her as brave and daring. But if she was brave, it was because Father died and took all of her options with him.  She’d lost everything—her home, a modestly comfortable lifestyle, freedom to study and spend her days more or less as she wished—and put all her energy into maintaining his business, even after discovering the massive debt he’d accumulated. She was beginning to make inroads toward repaying the debt and Kitty’s funds would be another step toward financial success for Wright and Sons Booksellers.

“Fine. I’ll do it.”

Kitty gasped with delight and clapped her hands together.

Alice shot her a look as if Jess had taken leave of whatever sense she’d been given.

Jess couldn’t match Kitty’s enthusiasm nor acknowledge Alice’s concern. She was too busy fighting off the sense of dread that settled in the pit of her stomach at the prospect of what she’d agreed to do.

“Where is this gallery and what time will he be there?”

I AM HOPE OUT NOW!

ES_IAmHope

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Topher, Jesse, and Sawyer thought their greatest threats were the Infected and Mutated that roam the world. As they struggle to reach the Concentration Center in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina they discover that the monstrous mutations of the undead are the least of their problems. Something else, something far more intelligent and lethal, is hunting them.

Topher knows that the only way humanity will survive is to find a cure for the strange infection that’s ravaged civilization. He’s on the brink of discovering it, but the further his research goes, the more he realizes that curing the world may mean losing Sawyer.

In order to stay together, all three men will have to battle for their lives and Topher will have to make the ultimate choice: cure the world or save his lover?

EXCERPT

“You stupid bitch!” Richey shouted. Chloe was hitting him, throwing everything she had into her punches and slaps. Richey punched her in the face, and Chloe fell limply to the side.

Reality snapped back.

Nash scrambled for the fallen gun. I dived for another. I grabbed the shotgun and fired a shot at Stu, hitting him in the stomach. He dropped the AK-47 with a scream.

Jane’s gun went off. I craned to look. Jesse had her hand raised in the air, twisting her wrist so that she dropped the pistol. He slammed his knee into her gut. She collapsed to her knees with a groan.

I climbed to my feet and grabbed the AK-47 from Stu, keeping my shotgun aimed at his head. He lay on the ground, clutching his stomach. There was a dampness that seeped through his fingers. Stu stared up at me, but it was too dark to read his expression.

“Help over here!” Nash shouted.

I jerked my head up. Nash was on the ground, struggling with Richey. There was a flash of silver mixed in the tussle, and then a succession of gunshots. Nash and Richey froze, and my heart leaped into my throat. Nash shoved Richey, who fell back lifelessly.

“Bastard,” Nash spat. He stood, holding the gun.

A hand locked on my ankle and pulled my foot out from under me. The world tipped sideways; all the stars spilled out of the galaxy. My head slammed into the ground. I dropped the guns. The grass smelled damp and musky. I groaned and dug my fingers into the dirt. When I looked up, Stu had a gun pointed at my head. Blood poured from his mouth. He didn’t have long. A few minutes, maybe only seconds.

I tipped my head back and looked over at Jesse. At some point, the tables had flipped again. More of Jane’s guards had come, corralling Jesse, Sawyer, and Rio over with Chloe, who lay motionless on the ground. Jaden clung to her. His tiny whimpers punctuated the night.

Nash stood off to the side, his newly proffered gun pointed down. He glared mutinously at Jane.

“Enough games,” Jane said viciously.

I inched my fingers toward the AK-47. Stu kicked the gun out of my reach. “Don’t move,” he wheezed and then coughed wetly.

“You’re going to die,” I whispered. “Do you want these to be your last moments of humanity? Killing innocent people?”

“Shut up!” Stu roared. He towered over me, all muscle and rage.

I closed my eyes. A cool breeze stirred through the grass and kissed my face. I opened my eyes and looked back at Jane.

“Abominations must be destroyed,” Jane said, as if it were a mantra. If she said it enough times, would it make everything that happened here okay?

“Do it,” Jesse challenged. “Kill us. It won’t make a difference.”

Jane took a gun from one of the guards and aimed it straight at Jesse.

My eyes widened. I clawed at the grass, trying to compel my body to move. Jane’s arm trembled. Her convictions shook.

“Please,” I croaked. Her head snapped in my direction. “Don’t. This isn’t the answer. This isn’t the way to save the world. You do this, and you destroy all hope of ever stopping the infection.”

“What do you know?” she sneered, her teeth dark with blood.

“I know that if we kill one another, we’re no better than the Infected.” I pushed up on unsteady arms. “Life isn’t over. It’s only evolving—”

Jane scoffed. “Blasphemy.”

“No, reality. The ability to adapt, to expand, it exists inside us. We can overcome this, but we have to stop killing one another first.”

Her gun turned on me.

“You think we can overcome this? This hell on earth?”

“Do you think this is the first time we’ve faced extinction?” I rose to my knees. Icy fingers of fear inched down my spine. My blood pounded between my ears. I had to force myself not to look away. Somewhere, deep inside Jane, was a little girl scared of the monsters. I had to find her and show her that we had hope. “I know how to save us, but if you kill us, then you destroy any chance of stopping this.”

“Liar,” Jane said. “How could you know?”

“Just kill them!” Stu shouted.

“Jane, please,” I whispered.

Beyond her, a crowd huddled together. A few guards had been left to keep watch. Past them was the tree line, which was nothing more than a formless shadow stretched across the horizon. The world continued on, beyond this camp, beyond any other camp that struggled to get by.

From the trees, shapes emerged, black figures that staggered and stumbled toward our camp. They pressed into the perimeter, a deluge of undead that would soon wash over us.

A gunshot cracked open the night with a thundering clap. I caught the glimmer of blood spray before Jane fell forward and face-planted the ground. Bruce stood behind her, a revolver aimed at where she’d stood.

It was like a bomb went off. The three guards who stood by Jane began to fire. I lunged for the shotgun and turned around, shooting Stu before he could get off a round. His head exploded into a congealed mess of blood. I scrambled to my feet.

Three guards lay on the ground with head wounds. The wall collapsed, toppling over as easily as a house of cards, and the Infected flooded in.

Bruce stood over Jane, chest heaving. “I… She… This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. I…”

“We don’t have time—” I was cut off by the foghorn bellow of an Infected.

They were right on us. Their rotting shapes grew solid. I pumped the shotgun and fired off a shot at the barreling Infected, hitting him in the shoulder. The Infected’s body twisted, and he staggered, but he didn’t stop. He came, ravenous and wild.

Bruce craned his head around. He started to scream, but it was knocked out of him as the Infected tackled him. I lunged for Bruce, but someone caught me around the waist.

“Let him go,” Jesse shouted. “Grab the guns, and let’s go!”

“You can’t— He’s—” What? Dead. Bruce’s screams grew wet and gurgled, like so many others we heard all around us. I pushed off Jesse and collected Stu’s weapon.

Everyone grabbed what guns they could. Screams erupted in the distance. The purging was over, and all that was left was another broken camp. Nash carried Chloe into the RV with Jaden following behind. I shoved some guns into the front of the truck. Rio climbed into the driver’s seat of the pickup and started it up.

I glanced toward the Infected. They were running for us, closing in fast. I spared Bruce one final look and then rushed into the RV. Sawyer started her up, and we peeled around the church, barreling through the rest of the flimsy perimeter.

I shoved past Jesse and ran into the bedroom, where I raised the blinds on the single window. I watched as people scrambled to pull themselves together and escape. Now, with death pressing in, it didn’t matter who was a sinner and who was a saint. We were all food.

Time and time again, we watched civilization fall, and it always felt like a bitch slap. I bit back the misery, told myself to move on, but how long would we keep going? I pressed a hand against the window. The Infected came down on the fence, the numbers too great for the plywood and sheet metal to hold. They slammed into the barricade, and like the rest of the world, it fell.

I swore Bruce looked up and watched us as we drove away. Impossible, I knew. He was lost to the infection and to the inevitable fate of mankind. But in the thickness of the night, I saw a faint glimmer. Most likely it was my mind playing tricks on me, but there was a small part of me that saw moonlight reflecting off his eyes.

A hand slid over my shoulder. I turned to Jesse and pressed my face into his shoulder with a shudder.

“I…” What? I hated this? So did he. I didn’t finish the sentence. I wrapped my arms around his neck and savored the feel of him against me.

“We can’t save them all,” he whispered into my ear.

I nodded, because really, that was all I could do.

EXCERPT: Fur, Fangs, and Secrets by | GIVEAWAY!

Title: Fur, Fangs and Secrets

Author: Katie Gatto

Genre: Paranormal Romance

When Alpha Cole Martin takes his mate from the middle of a public park, he expected some complications. He didn’t expect her to have a few secrets of her own.


EXCERPT

“Who are you really?,” I asked him.

“Someone who is desperately in love with you,” he said in a small voice. I yanked my hand away from his. “That’s not possible,” I told him. I looked him in his eyes. He seemed so earnest. I let him keep talking, “Yes it is. I fell in love with you the second I saw you in the store. I’ll never love anyone else but you for the rest of my life. I need you by my side. Please don’t run from me. I’ll do everything I can to make you happy.”

My next thought came out of my mouth before I had time to check it with my brain, “You’re insane!” It wasn’t the best response I know, but it was the truth. He grabbed onto my hand tighter. “I finally touched you. You must be feeling something by now. I know humans don’t feel the connection the way that we do, but they usually feel something. Don’t you feel it?,” he sounded downright desperate at this point. “All I feel right now is frightened. I really think you need to see someone about these mental problems. I’m worried about you. This isn’t normal.”

He didn’t let go and he didn’t speak. His eyes were wide. His grip actually tightened on my hand. I tried changing my tactic, “Look we are in a very public place right now. If you don’t let go of me I’m going to scream.”

Cole

 

She didn’t feel it. She thinks that we’re crazy. I looked to my wolf because I didn’t know what else to do. We can’t lose her. Get her somewhere safe. He didn’t tell me to try and mate her right there so I figured his advice was better than my lack of plan. I was actually starting to formulate one of those. I let go of her hand and like I expected she started to get up. She’s leaving, my wolf was howling, Make her come back!

I let her stand up, and then when she got up I kissed her. Not a simple kiss but one like the movies, where I bent her backwards over my arm. She must have been surprised because she opened her mouth and I pressed into her deeper, covering all of her mouth. I cupped her head in my hands and used one of them to cover her nose as surreptitiously as I could. When she finally passed out I scooped her up. Leaving the picnic I got her into my car as quickly as I could.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie Gatto is a New Jersey based fantasy and romance author, with more than a dozen books to her name. You can follow her on Twitter for up to the moment updates or find on her author site. Samples of her works are also available on Wattpad.

Links

Author Site – https://katiegatto.wordpress.com

Smashwords Profile – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/katiegatto

Twitter – https://twitter.com/KTMG


GIVEAWAY

A random fan who reviews the book on Goodreads during the tour will get to choose the name of one of the characters in the author’s next book. Rafflecopter.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT! Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts by Charlie Cochet | GIVEAWAY!

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AboutTheBook

BewareOfGeeksFSTitle: Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts

Author: Charlie Cochet

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Length: 86 pages

Release Date: August 19, 2015

Blurb: Julian “Quinn” Quinetro, a gruff, tough Miami SWAT officer, has been injured on the job, and all he’s looking for is a little peace and quiet to recover—difficult to achieve with his large Cuban family. An adventure in picking up his prescriptions puts him in the path of his geeky, brownie-baking neighbor, Spencer Morgan. Spencer sweeps into Quinn’s life like a tropical storm of sunshine and rainbows. Not surprisingly, it’s chaos at first sight. Quinn’s in need of a little tender loving care, and Spencer decides he’s just the man for the job. Their very different lives might clash, but they might also find some common ground—and maybe more.

Excerpt

Danny shrugged. “There are a lot of retirees here.”

“And a lot of douche bags.”

“You could have stayed in Jersey.”

Spencer removed his apron and hung it up on the hook by the fridge. “I couldn’t stay there and let my mom move down here on her own. You should have seen how excited she was about living in the land of perpetual sunshine. She’s happy here.”

“And you’re miserable.”

“I’m not miserable. I’m just… having trouble adjusting. I went from having four seasons to living on the surface of the freakin’ sun. Thank God for air conditioning. Do you know how hard it is to put Christmas lights on a palm tree? My mom had me help her decorate last Christmas, and I almost broke my neck. Not to mention it was eighty degrees in the shade.”

“Quinn could help you adjust.”

Danny wriggled his eyebrows, and Spencer groaned. His friend never let up.

“Yeah, adjust my face with his fist,” Spencer mumbled. Just because Spencer had accidentally stumbled across Quinn sucking face with some guy leaving his apartment a week after moving in next to him, it didn’t change the fact Quinn was out of his league. At the time he’d thought it was Quinn’s boyfriend, but he never saw the guy again after that. The new guys he occasionally saw coming out of Quinn’s place never seemed to stay very long. Spencer’s stupid crush on Quinn didn’t mean he was looking to be Quinn’s next one-night stand. He’d learned a lot about the guy over the past year, which made the whole thing even sadder. Quinn didn’t even know Spencer’s name. He’d never been rude, and he said hello when he saw Spencer, but it was clearly an ingrained courtesy rather than an actual acknowledgment of Spencer’s existence.

Danny stared at him. “You saying he’s gonna punch you in the face for saying hi?”

“Why don’t you date him, then?”

“Because he’s a dude. Now if Quinn was a sexy lady cop, I’d be over there in a heartbeat.” He held his wrists out with a wide grin. “I’d be all, ‘Cuff me to your bed, baby.’”

Spencer arched an eyebrow at his friend. “Don’t you have a job to go to?”

“I’m on the evening shift, remember?” Danny checked his watch. “Damn. I promised my sister I’d pick up her Chihuahua from the groomer. Hate that little turd. It always bites me. You should see it—it looks like a loaf of bread with tiny legs.”

BuyLinks

Dreamspinner Press (eBook)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

All Romance eBooks

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

AboutTheAuthor

AuthorPicCharlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

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TourSchedule

August 19:

The Novel Approach

Multitasking Mommas Book Reviews

RJ Scott

August 20:

Bookaholic Confessions

Gay List Book Reviews

Hearts on Fire

August 21:

Bike Book Reviews

Prism Book Alliance

The Blogger Girls

August 24:

BFD Book Blog

Nautical Star Books

Divine Magazine

August 25:

Man2ManTastic

LeAnn’s Book Reviews

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

August 26:

Gay Media Reviews

Cia’s Stories

Carly’s Book Reviews

August 27:

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

MM Good Book Reviews

August 28:

Diverse Reader

Wicked Faeries Tales And Reviews

Evelyn Shepherd

August 31:

A Celebration of Books

Sue Brown

Drops of Ink

September 1:

Rainbow Gold Reviews

Love Bytes Reviews

TTC Books and More

Bayou Book Junkie

EXCERPT: The Evolved by KT Webb

Title: The Evolved

Author: KT Webb

Genre: YA Fantasy

From Indie Author KT Webb comes a fantasy novel that challenges tradition. She artfully combines elements of mythology, theology, romance and adventure to create a fast paced and intriguing story.

Thatcher Kline is a ward of the state, a runaway and a loner. But he has a few secrets; secrets that make him a freak, secrets that have cut him off from any semblance of a family.

Hadley and Whitley Callaghan are the twin daughters of a powerful man. Their mother abandoned them when they were little, leaving them to be raised by an absent father and his security detail. They find themselves settling into small town life in South Dakota when they meet Kerr Mason and their world turns upside down.

Kerr is a bookworm, storeowner and a good judge of character. He likes to be alone; other people make him uncomfortable. When he meets the Callaghan twins, he feels a connection he can’t comprehend.

Distant relatives raised Nora Lowell after her parents died in a car wreck. She lives in a constant state of suspension as she waits to be joined by others like her. When Nora learns that the others are on their way, she feels like her life can finally begin.

Their paths were destined to meet; their lives were destined to be intertwined as those of their ancestors were. When they come together, mysteries are unraveled, prophecies are revealed and this group of misfits quickly discovers they are destined to save the world from the clutches of evil.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

KT Webb is a big city girl living in small town South Dakota. KT is a wife and mother of two young children. She works full time as a marketing and communications coordinator for a technology solutions company. KT is also an avid reader and prefers books that allow her overactive imagination to run wild. She published her first book, The Evolved as the first installment in The New Era Saga; the second book will be out in late 2015.

Links

www.ktwebbauthor.com 

https://www.facebook.com/KTWebb86 

https://twitter.com/_KT_Webb_


EXCERPT

As soon as they collided, she felt an immense pressure from all angles. She looked around wondering if they had created a book avalanche. As she reached for the book, the clumsy book store clerk reached a hand out to help her. Whitley felt an intense heat rise in her cheeks, she wanted to melt into the floor, and she was so embarrassed she had almost forgotten he was there. Her hand touched the book guys hand and the heat intensified. The room got dark, and light again, she thought she was about to pass out when the realization hit her, the lights were flickering. She hid her embarrassment easily by adding a little “senators’ daughter condescension” to her voice, her father would have been disappointed in her.

“You should really pay your light bill” She threw at him while the lights continued to flicker.

“Uh…what?” Was all he managed to force out.

Whitley pointed up and said, “Your lights. Do they do this often?”

“Oh, no.” His eyebrows knit together as he looked up at the ceiling. “In fact, I’ve owned this building for three years and it’s never happened before.”

“You own this place?” Hadley asked coming up behind him.

“Yeah, Kerr Mason, at your service.” He made a little bow and grinned, the light seemed to sparkle in his eyes.

“Hadley Callaghan, and the klutz you ran into is my sister Whitley.”

“Callaghan huh? As in Eric Callaghan. Senator Eric Callaghan? The presidential candidate?” Kerr asked.

“Yep, that’s our dad. Mr. President himself.” Whitley responded with just a hint of venom in her voice.

“Soft spot huh?” He stage whispered to Hadley.

She nodded, and giggled a little. Whitley rolled her eyes at her sister, she couldn’t believe Hadley hadn’t grabbed her hand and dragged her from the store. That’s what she usually did when she caught Whitley in situations she found embarrassing. She noticed Hadley narrowing her eyes at her and she wondered if her sister could sense how flustered she was.

“Whit, we should probably get going, I’m sure Kerr has to call an electrician or something to get this fixed.” Hadley looked around uncomfortably.

Kerr nodded and started to head to the back room when the jingling of the bell alerted him to another customer. The three of them turned to see who had come in, but couldn’t see anyone. The flickering lights made it hard to focus on anything. As Kerr tried to pass the girls to offer his assistance to the person who’d entered, he stumbled over one of the books still strewn across the floor. Whitley instantly reached to steady him. As soon as she made contact with him again, the lights instantly grew steadily brighter.

SPOTLIGHT: Bridged by Love By Nancy Corrigan

Book Title: Bridged by Love

Series Name: Kagan Wolves

Series Number: 1

Author: Nancy Corrigan

ISBN13: 978-1-61923-004-0

Length: 63,982

Categories: PAW: Paranormal, PAW: Red Hot, RH: Paranormal & Alternate Worlds

Tags: Shape-Shifters; Werewolves

Price: 5.50

Publication Date: July 21st 2015

Follow his head, he breaks her heart. Follow his heart…he breaks his pack.

From the moment he was born, Nic Kagan’s future was sealed. He’ll accept a mate, have kids, and eventually take over his father’s role as pack alpha. There’s just one problem.

Long ago, his heart settled on Riley, the pack’s human doctor and honorary member. Except only half of him can have her. The other half—his wolf—won’t give a weak non-shifter female a second sniff.

No one—human or shifter—has left a mark on Riley’s soul like Nic. But with his father hospitalized, any hope things could work out between them is slipping away. Yet Riley understands something else about pack life. Power isn’t always a physical gift; love is just as strong. What she and Nic have is worth fighting for.
With rival threats mounting, Nic realizes he can’t simply turn his back on Riley. Though his wolf could tear his heart out for it, he must fight for what he wants before he loses his mate. His pack. Maybe even his sanity.

Warning: Contains a reluctant alpha with only one roadblock between his heart and the woman he loves—biology. And a woman who isn’t giving up on him, even if it means risking her life to fool Mother Nature.

Author’s Note: Bridged by Love is a dark, erotic paranormal for readers 18+. Expect plenty of sex, danger, tears and a passion that can tame even the alpha wolf.


EXCERPT

Nic ran through the woods. The broken twigs and rocks poking into his paws barely registered. He pivoted and headed deeper into the underbrush. The sharp pulling of the low-hanging tree limbs on his fur appealed to his need to punish himself. He wanted to hurt. A fight would’ve been better, but he couldn’t go around initiating any. Actions like that would come off as a dominance tactic, and the Kagan males had always held to a higher standard. They understood all members of a pack played a vital role.

He lowered his head and pushed through the bowing evergreens. An open space greeted him. He froze. Sides heaving and blood soaking his fur, he panted and took in the small home in front of him—Riley’s place. His dad had bought it for her. Last time Nic had seen it was right after she’d moved in. She must’ve remodeled since then. Where the concrete stoop once stood, a wide front porch spanned the house. It looked inviting with the swing and chairs decorating it. He could see himself lounging on it, enjoying the night.

A low growl rumbled in his chest.

It didn’t surprise him that he’d ended up here. He hadn’t been able to get thoughts of her out of his head. Guilt ate at him. He’d treated her like shit the last time they were together. She deserved an apology and explanation. If he’d been man enough, he would’ve been straight with her then.

He padded across the gravel road. On the other side, soft grass met the pads of his paws. Halfway across the front yard, the door opened. Riley stepped out, a bottle of beer in hand. An oversize flannel shirt covered her chest and bare thighs. Jealousy surged, knowing she wore another male’s clothes. Shock replaced it with his next breath. It was his shirt, the one he’d had on the last time they were together.

She whipped her head in his direction. Narrowed eyes zeroed in on him. They widened on a gasp. She set her bottle down and sprinted across the yard. Her loosely buttoned top gave him a tantalizing glimpse of her legs. He sat on his haunches to watch her, but she reached him before he could decide if the swath of black between her thighs was a thong or a bikini.

“Nic”—she dropped to her knees in front of him—“what happened?”

He couldn’t answer her in his wolf form. She knew that. She also understood that depending on how much control he gave his other half, he might not even hear her. It never stopped her from approaching shifters. She’d said she could tell who was in charge by looking into their eyes.

“You’re bleeding.” She brushed back his fur and gently touched the skin around a long gash. “This wasn’t from a fight, was it?”

He shook his head, the only answer he could give in his limited form.

She stared into his eyes. Not a hint of fear showed in her expression. She treated his dad and the other dominants with the respect owed them by avoiding eye contact. Never Nic, at least not in private, but the rules were different around the other wolves. Riley had always understood the need for hierarchy among the members. In the pack’s eyes, she was as low as one could be. In his, she was his equal.

“Shift and tell me why you decided to drag your sorry ass to my house. None of these cuts need my attention.”


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A true romantic at heart, Nancy Corrigan is convinced there’s a knight in shining armor for every woman (or man), but you won’t find damsels in distress in her stories. She adores pairing alpha heroes with women strong enough to match them and bring them to their knees. She also enjoys flipping the traditional roles in romances because her motto is—love and people should never be forced to conform to anyone’s norm.

She holds a degree in chemistry and has worked in research but now focuses on ensuring quality. She considers it the perfect outlet for her as she’s the first to admit she has some OCD tendencies. It carries over into her writing life too. While engrossed in a novel, she has a habit of forgetting to eat and sleep. Fortunately, she’s married to her own knight in shining armor who understands her oddities and loves her anyway. They reside in Pennsylvania with their three children, dog, snake and guinea pigs. Her other interests include tattoos, animals, classic cars and all things spooky and sexy.

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EXCERPT: The Horse List by Anna Lores

She moaned as everything wrong in her life faded into the background. She was in Eric’s world imagining those masculine hands lifting her up, slipping beneath her pants and… Crap. She was not doing that. She didn’t need a man screwing with her head again. Her hands trembled as she covered his hands with her own. “Not happening, Mr. North.” She pushed his hands away from her. It shouldn’t have been so hard to make her limbs move from her position, but it was. It was darn hard.

He stepped forward, blocking her from leaving as if he were protecting her. “It’s Mr. North now, Ava?”

The smooth, freshly-shaven skin of his cheek brushed up against her in a slow, sweeping arch from the curve of her neck to her cheek. He took her hands and held them over her head, pinning her against the cool, marble wall of the elevator.

“It is, Mr. North. Please call me Ms. Black.” Her voice was low and sexy and geez, it was a little shaky. She wasn’t a virgin. She shouldn’t be that nervous around a man. But, then again, he was nothing like any man she’d met before. He exuded charisma and power without even trying. He, so close to her, made her ache for things she knew she couldn’t have.

“But I like your first name, Ava. I like the way it rolls off my tongue when I say it…Ava.”

“This is inappropriate, Mr. North. You’re only going to give me a tattoo,” she said, barely getting her volume over a whisper.

Her blood burned in her veins from his close proximity, from his demanding hold on her. She needed air. She was going to faint from all the oxygen in the small space getting sucked into his fire.

“Ms. Black,” he stepped back and leaned his torso forward, gently pressing his forehead against hers. “If you think all I’m giving you is a tattoo, you’re as naïve as a child.”

She kept her eyes averted, readying for the lie she kept telling herself. “All I want is a tattoo, Eric. You seem to be the only person in a hundred mile radius that can give me one. I don’t want more from you.”

She ducked down, pulled out of his tender hold on her wrists, and slipped out of the elevator.

It wasn’t the most mature thing to do, but she sprinted at top speed through the door to her car to get as far away from him as possible, immediately recognizing the problem with the hot, demanding man. She wanted everything from him—sex, marriage, kids. That was never happening. Not in Compass, Illinois. Not with Eric North. Probably not ever if her ex-husband had anything to do with it.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Horse List

Author: Anna Lores

Genre: Erotic Romance

This work contains mature content, including graphic sexual descriptions and scenes, and is provided for adults only. 

Recently divorced from an abusive husband still intent to control her life, Ava Black has two weeks before she moves back to her conservative hometown to start her life over.

Encouraged by her best friend, she resurrects the wish list she started as a young girl when her number one desire was her very own horse. Over the years, The Horse List had become a mature list of her most erotic sexual fantasies and a symbol of her rebirth as an independent woman. She can complete some of the items alone, but not everything. She needs a sexually experienced partner with resources and the connections to places she’s only dreamed of going.

Could the handsome and wealthy artist Eric North be the partner she seeks? Will her drive to complete the list be enough to overcome her fear of him discovering the scars left from years of abuse? Will Eric protect her from her ex-husband, or will she go home with her unrequited love, Brady Ross, and give up her one chance to complete The Horse List?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna started writing romance as a by-product of insomnia. After a year of late night reading, she borrowed her son’s laptop after he went to bed each night, and set about breathing life to her very own characters. After a month of writing in the middle of the night, she was surprised with a new laptop of her own to pursue her dreams. With a B.A. in English Literature and a desire to fill her world with wonderful stories she and her close friends could not just talk about, but gush over, she shed her job as mom of three in the late night hours and assumed her alter ego of dirty girl.

Links

Author site: www.annaloresauthor.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/annalores

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annaloresus

Publisher page: http://www.eredsage.com/store/LORESANNA.html

GUEST POST: Blue Wide Sky by Inglath Cooper

5 Reasons Why Books are Good for You

Ever feel guilty because you love to read? Or because you feel like there are so many other things you should be doing? Does it feel like a luxury when you take time out for yourself to sit down with a good book?
You’re not alone.
Life is full of responsibilities, loved ones who need our attention. We feel best about ourselves when we’re meeting those responsibilities.
But we also need to remember to take care of ourselves. And if you’re a reader, you already know that books hold a special place in your life.
The next time you’re feeling guilty for taking that time for yourself, think about these five reasons why books are good for you.
  1. Reading helps you relax, de-stress at the end of a long day. According to an article in the Telegraph, “Psychologists believe this is because the human mind has to concentrate on reading and the distraction of being taken into a literary world eases the tensions in muscles and the heart.”
  2. Reading makes you more articulate. Have you noticed that people who read have excellent vocabularies.
  3. Reading stimulates your brain.
  4. Reading can enhance a person’s ability to be empathetic. When you experience something through a character’s eyes, witness their thoughts and feelings, it gives you the ability to empathize with them. The world definitely needs more empathetic people.
  5. Reading makes you more interesting. When you read a lot, you know lots of things. Sometimes, you don’t even realize how much you know until someone mentions something, and you know about it because you’ve read about it!
So, don’t feel guilty. Keep reading!

First love. . . forever love.

Sixteen-year old Gabby Hayden wasn’t the kind of girl who gave a hoot about boys. She had a few real loves. Water-skiing, going out on Smith Mountain Lake with her dad and her dog. Anything else ranked a distant second. Until the summer smart, caring, gorgeous Sam Tatum gave her his heart. It had been the most wonderful time of her life, lazy days hanging out at the dock, skinny-dipping at midnight, staring up at the stars from the back of Sam’s truck.

They are planning their future together when Sam’s father is transferred to South Africa. Devastated, Gabby and Sam promise to wait for each other during the two years before he returns for college. But lonely and angry, Sam makes a mistake that will change the course of both their lives.

Years later, an unexpected diagnosis brings Sam home to his parents’ house on Smith Mountain Lake where he believes he can find peace and acceptance. What he finds, however, is the girl he once loved, now a woman unwilling to lose him again, a woman who will make him realize that both love and life are worth fighting for.


EXCERPT

You know how there are some things in life that you eventually allow yourself to admit you’re never going to do again?

Things that you clung to when you were young with the arrogance that underscored life through your twenties, anyway. Until you hit thirty and that little ping of awareness started up.

Uh-oh. This really might not go exactly like I thought it was going to. No u-turns in sight. Just straight-ahead highway like the North Dakota stretch from Gackle to Beaver Creek where you can see so far in the distance, it looks like you’ll just fall off the edge of the Earth if you ever do get there.

At some point along the way, that’s what I eventually came to accept about Smith Mountain Lake and my memories of it. That this place and everything I had loved about it as a boy were part of my past, a time long gone, so far behind me that it wasn’t possible to ever travel back.

Or at least that’s what I would have told myself just a few days ago.


BUY LINKS

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Wide-Sky-Smith-Mountain-ebook/dp/B00RF6D21Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429892259&sr=8-1&keywords=blue+wide+sky+inglath


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

RITA AWARD WINNING AUTHOR INGLATH COOPER writes books that aim to give her readers a mini-vacation. A stretch of time during which they can visit other places and other people’s lives. Her books have reached the top 100 Amazon Kindle Bestseller list, with Truths and Roses hitting #11.

Inglath Cooper’s Nashville series became a reality after she spent time in Music City, writing lyrics with other songwriters. She fell in love with the community and gets to revisit regularly through her characters.

Readers on the Nashville series:

“The characters are great, and so is the story line.” – Catherine Emmons, Amazon.com Reader

“The way the story started and the way it has ended makes me want more.” – Robin Ostrowski, Amazon.com Reader

“I was hooked from the first chapter and can’t wait to read Part Two!” – MomLovestoRead – Amazon.com Reader

Visit her website at: www.inglathcooper.com

Follow her on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/inglathcooperbooks. She loves to engage with readers there!

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