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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Excerpt and Giveaway Mobster's Angel (Mobster #4) by Amy Rachiele

Published: December 15th, 2013

Description:

can stand alone

Vito has grown up in the underworld of the mob. He has recently reached age eighteen. His family has been involved since the thirties. In 2014, the rules haven’t changed much. What worked then, works now; power, violence, and loyalty.

Love isn’t something you can control. As much as Vito, mobster enforcer, wish he could, he can’t. And falling in love with someone who is close to jailbait age is even tougher. Vito bides his time and waits. For a hasty guy with limited self-control, it’s difficult to curb his impulses.

At age fifteen, Erin just wants to forget. Erin’s world came crashing down when she learned her family was not what they seemed. She’s been living in a lie. No one told her her family was mob. The cliché ignorance is bliss becomes a sharp stabbing realization when she has to learn to cope with the aftermath. 

Being smart doesn’t save you from terror and doesn’t teach you how to live with it. You can’t escape the mob. It’s part of your existence!

Sometimes I hear him whispering in my ear as if my conscience has grown and matured into a six foot three dark haired male. The studying, reading, and listening I did to impress adults are nothing compared to what I learned from Vito.” ~ Erin

EXCERPT



Prologue:
September
Vito’s Senior Year at Palmetto High School, New Jersey

I jump people in alleys for fun.

I say shit I don’t mean.

Yeah, I’m an asshole…always been one, always will be.

The way I grew up, nice got you fuckin’ nothin’ but stepped on. The mob life is brutal; a hazy, volatile run of survival. I don’t like it, but I’m proud of my heritage and my friends.

One thing I admire is the loyalty in the Mafia. I come from a long line of mobsters. The Rossi’s have been here in New Jersey since the thirties, tommy guns, and zoot suits.

My Pop has been gone on business for the Palmetto Mob Boss for over a year now. His loyalty is unwavering. Mom and I see him on holidays, and he calls a lot. It’s not the same as having him here.

But Pop being away isn’t what’s wrong with me.

Erin, this kid - I can’t get her out of my head. Well, I guess she’s not a kid. No… no… she’s a kid. She’s fourteen… I’m seventeen.

Holy shit! I could go to jail. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time - and she’d be worth it. I wouldn’t have even found out she was that young if I hadn’t overheard her sister, Megan, telling my best friend, Antonio.

Ugh, shit!

It’s not so bad if she’s turning fifteen like - tomorrow.

I’m trying, I really am. I just have to keep repeating to myself, she’s a freshman, you’re a senior. She has three more years of high school left; I’m going to college next year. Well, I will if I get my head out of my ass.

Every time I see her, she seems to be having the time of her life. She thrives on laughter and fun. Her happiness is contagious. That’s probably why everyone likes her. Erin is way more outgoing than Megan.

She’s smart like her sister. I bet she’ll get an early acceptance to the college of her choice, too.

What would she want with a stupid ass like me?

That damn red hair! And that slim little body. I know that this has to have something to do with Antonio going out with Red…I mean Megan. Yeah, that’s definitely what it is. The hair. The O’Neill girls are different... Irish, not Italian. Forbidden.

Antonio’s father, the Mob Boss of Palmetto, New Jersey, warned all of us years ago to stay away from Megan. But Antonio Rinaldo Delisi, Sr. never mentioned Megan’s little sister, Erin. He probably figured she was too young to be of interest to us.

I heard some chooches talking about her after school the other day while I was walking down the hallway near the science wing. Typical guy shit. But I wanted to slam their faces into the lockers. I had it all planned out in my head. I was going to take each of them by the scruff of the neck, one by one, and SMASH. I’m familiar with the sound of flesh hitting metal. Then I would’ve taken them into the fuckin’ bathroom and washed their mouths out with anti-bacterial soap. But I held back…

And that shows that I’ve been paying way too much attention to someone that doesn’t even know I’m alive. I’m a chooch when it comes to getting attention. I just act like the asshole I am.

Like the time I hit on her sister in church. And did I mention that Erin didn’t even look my way? That was just me being stupid. I do stupid shit all the time because I don’t think, I just do. It’s an important motto in the Mafia. Thinking can be very bad for your health. No one wants cement shoes and lungs full of water.

She’s got a boyfriend. I’ve seen him. He’s a scrawny little guy. His mother picked Erin up from school one day: I saw the mini-van pull up. The door slid open and she hopped in. Her face said it all; she was happy and excited to see her pansy little boyfriend.

The guy is in the same grade as her, but he goes to another school. Lucky for him…he doesn’t have to see her every day. That is, if that pansy kid could really be as attracted to her as I am. And it’s good because if he were around, I’d consider beating him up every once in a while just for shits and giggles.

Like a chooch, I’m on high alert, constantly looking for her in the hallways. I know every class she’s in. I’ve actually cut a few classes to wait outside her classroom like a stalker.

This cannot be normal. I know its not. Maybe I need a shrink. Some intense therapy might beat it out of me.

That’s it! A good beating!



About the authors:
Amy Rachiele is a military spouse and brat who spent many years volunteering and on staff for the Army National Guard and Department of Veteran Affairs with family support, family readiness, as well as, families of the Fallen. Amy devoted 10 years to teaching at-risk students in the Providence School System. 

She holds a Master's degree from Rhode Island College in English and Secondary Education. She volunteers her time at the local library facilitating a writer’s group in the hope of inspiring other writers. Besides writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, sewing, and traveling. Amy lives in Massachusetts with her son and husband.

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Review and Giveaway The Warrior & The Flower (3 Kingdoms #1) by Camille Picott

REVIEW:

Did you love the childhood tales? What about the ones from Far East? I cannot believe you didn’t, and I’m sure that the Asian ones have caught you at least due to the mystical and exotic that surrounded them.

Camille Picott succeeds in her novel The Warrior & The Flower to make you dream again as you once did. Do not haste, it is not a story for kindergarten children, but a Young Adult one. But we all like to dream whatever age we are, and sometimes all of us yearn after the lost paradise of childhood.

It is a novel that starts tragic (how many fairy tales have you seen that begin in laughter?) and this coordinate will be the spark and also the engine of the main characters’ actions. A delicate, but strong story, a sad, but full of promises story of two crushed and scattered souls that come together by a happy conjunction of fate. A destiny, that at first glance seemed that in no way can bring together a battle-hardened warrior and a girl with an unhappy childhood, will make the two of them to find a new purpose for living and to rebuild their lives together.

But how nothing comes for free, neither the two of them will be spared from new suffering, and the ordeal which they go through apparently will not end too easily. Their life seems headed for moment by the saying: "One step forward, two steps back". Albeit... the appearances, as usual, deceive. The little girl, who seemed to be a lost soul, cursed to live a promiscuous life, carries with her a secret. The secret of a terrible weapon that is able to turn the course of a war whose end was far from being seen. A child who is not only able to save her adoptive father, both emotionally and, ironically, physically, but also to protect the kingdom from its annihilation. The hope begins to glimpse and all the presciences gain a warm auspicious colour. Can it be true? Because the novel does not have an "and they lived happily ever after." The story does not end and it’s expecting its continuance and denouement. Did I make you curious? Read it, you will like it!

The book is pleasantly written, full of sensitivity and power. It is a novel that is full of action with a lot of well-described fight scenes, with plenty of unexpected twists, with moments of tenderness and sometimes sprinkled with a bit of humour. The style and the set are the ones of a Chinese fairytale and definitely will carry you in a plenteous fantasy world of mystery.

Happy Reading!
About the author:
Camille Picott is a fifth-generation Chinese American. She writes science fiction and fantasy books with Asian characters and/or Asian settings. Camille grew up reading speculative fiction stories largely devoid of Asian characters and culture. This, coupled with a passion for her heritage, is the reason she strives to bring some aspect of Eastern myth, legend, culture, and ethnicity to all of her writings. To visit Camille, go to:


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Shadows of grey (and Giveaway) Silver Heart by Victoria Green

Description:

There comes a moment in everyone’s life when they must decide which road leads to personal happiness. For Dylan Silver, this is that moment…

For the past twenty-two-years, Dylan has been living in her parents' carefully crafted world, always putting her own dreams on hold to play the role of a dutiful daughter.

So when her best friend coaxes her into a winter getaway to a mountain cabin, she sees it as a chance to forget about the responsibilities waiting for her at home. At least for a little while.

But then her past catches up to her—in the form of sexy snowboarder, Sawyer Carter.

Six years ago, Dylan bid goodbye to the only boy she ever truly loved. Now he's standing right in front of her, bringing up bittersweet memories and igniting suppressed desires as he dares her to be the person she has always wanted to be.

Dylan and Sawyer’s unexpected meeting is a second chance, but will a girl who doesn't believe in fate and taking risks be able to overcome her fears of losing control and finally embrace the life she desperately wants?

Only one thing is certain: after a week in Whistler, Dylan's world will never be the same.

Top 10 List 
Happiness - and unhappiness for that matter - isn’t black and white. 

Happiness transcends time and place, shape and size. 
• Everyone in the world—no matter who they are, what they look like, where they live, how much or how little money they make, how healthy or unhealthy they are—is capable of both happiness and unhappiness. 

Happiness is internal. 
• Our society is so focused on outer appearance. Whether it be our looks, the size of our house/wallet, or all the shiny “swag” we like to show off on Instagram, many people equate happiness levels with how we look and how many flashy things we own. The media often makes us think that being good-looking, rich, and living a life of luxury will automatically make us happy. But those means do not guarantee happiness. True happiness is only achieved when a person is happy on the inside through their mindset, actions, and outlook on life. 

But also external. 
• That being said, a strong support system (someone you can talk to who actually listens and cares) is essential for achieving happiness. A meaningful, fulfilled life in which one is surrounded by friends and family they can count on will often aid in enriching someone’s happiness levels. 

You can’t force happiness. 
• This is one that I still struggle with. There are many studies that show that positive thinking influences happiness. While it may not cause happiness, there is a strong relation between being an optimist in the face of hardship and happiness. However, it’s easier said than done. For me, being happy means working on myself every day and striving to be a good person devoid of negative thoughts, jealousy of others who “have it better”, and anger toward uncontrollable events. 

Happiness can be deceiving. 
• Just because someone is at the top of their career, surrounded by adoring friends, swimming in a pool full of cash, and smiling in a picture doesn’t mean they are truly happy. 

Different people face hardships in different ways. 
• The same negative event (getting laid off, illness, etc.) has a varied effect on people. Something that may shake someone to the core and instill a sense of unhappiness within them could be handled completely differently by someone else. 

An event that breaks someone can make someone else stronger. 
• We don’t know what kind of amazing feats we’re capable of until we’re put to the test and facing obstacles head-on. Sometimes, a negative event can actually make us happier in the end by showing us the truly important things in life. 

Money does not equal happiness. 
• Sure, money can buy luxury, but true friendships, good health, and positive personalities aren’t for sale. 

Neither does love. 
• You have to love yourself first to be able to love someone else. Just because you finally get together with your “One True Love” doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy. A good, supportive partner can obviously increase potential for happiness within a person, but it’s hard to fix one area in life that needs fixing with something (or someone) else. Chances are that the honeymoon phase will eventually wear off and you’ll be left feeling unfulfilled yet again. 

Sometimes it’s okay to be “unhappy”. 
• Key word: “sometimes”. If you’re a person who is genuinely happy 24/7, I applaud you. And this is one of those rare times that I think it would be okay for me to admit complete and utter jealousy. Because, the truth is, it’s very difficult and rare to always be happy. Life is hard, no matter who you are and where you live. It’s only natural to experience its ups and downs and recognize that not every single second of every day will be perfect. However, it’s important to be able to seek out the light even in dark places.
About the author:
Victoria Green is a New Adult author who enjoys writing about unspoken love and second chances. She’s a travel junkie and a huge photography enthusiast. Her experience growing up in a war-torn country has helped teach her the importance of living life to the fullest and appreciating every single day. She believes in true love, good chocolate, and great books. She lives in Canada with her high school sweetheart (though he’s graduated to a fiancé now) and their pack of puppies, and also writes Young Adult novels under a different name.

Author's Giveaway

Interview and Giveaway Layers (Stark #1) by Sigal Ehrlich

Published: October 2013

Description:

According to Hayley love is a subject of ridicule, a myth created by hopeless romantics.

When Hayley makes a resolution to declare her loose lifestyle era R.I.P, it’s all good in theory…

That is until she meets Daniel Stark, a well-respected, mid-thirties business man who is known for his short temper, lack of steady relationships as well as his strict preserve of his private life.

Opinionated, sharp tongued Hayley accidently steps into his office leaving Daniel resolved to put Hayley in her place and have her in his bed.

Both Hayley and Daniel can’t avoid the immediate instigation of the attraction between them.

In a unanimously agreed upon verdict by Hayley and her two best friends, Ian the gay self-absorb, aspiring model and Natasha the witty, borderline neurotic soul mate, Daniel Stark is to be Hayley’s pure physical attraction, emotions aside era closure.

Will it indeed be a closure, or a beginning to something neither Hayley nor Daniel ever bargained for…

AUTHOR's INTERVIEW

How would you describe Layers? 
Layers is a plunge into the world of a sassy, confident woman that meets her equal and together take a leap into the unknown. While both protagonists have their share of flaws and fears to overcome, they try to take a chance on the relationship thing which they so far dreaded, only to find out it’s not as bad as it seems.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important? 
I find the names to be extremely important, I believe that the name have a great weight in the overall creation of a character. Usually I choose a couple of names and imagine them in some scenes to test how it sounds in my head. 

For example, Hayley, from my point of view could not be a better name for Layers’ protagonist. It’s a name that describes a confident, creative and original, person, just like Hayley is.

With as many Contemporary Romance which feature rich men and the women who “tames” them out there, what sets Layers apart in the fast growing genre?
I believe that the uniqueness comes from the tone in which the book is written. It’s a light and fun read, even the sorrow infused parts are laced with a touch of humor. That, together with the fact that Daniel is not your typical multi-millionaire, Hayley’s sassy personality, the dynamics between the characters as well as the supportive characters just adds the special something that sets it apart.

You have quite a few steamy scenes in the book, are these scenes easy to write?
The steamy scenes weren’t exactly easy, because, I’m not a fan of using explicit descriptions so I had to tone down the acts and have the emotions speak instead of actually “showing” the “bites and pieces”. 

How much of the book is realistic? 
It’s mainly fiction, though there are some minor parts taken from real life, consciously and unconsciously. For example, in my past so called “corporate life” I worked at the equivalent of “Stark SW.” 

Also, one of the supporting characters is based on a person who’s very close to my heart. And surprisingly, after actually editing the manuscript I’ve realized Daniel and my hubby share some similarities. The last, for sure, was unconsciously done. 

Author's Giveaway:
By teen age, Sigal already lived in three different continents where she had the luck to experience and visit varied places, meet unique people, which only helped fuel her overly developed imagination. Currently, Sigal calls Estonia home where she lives with her husband and three kids.

Not exactly sure where they will end up next…

When she is not hiding in her office, writing, she enjoys music, reading and taking care of her little clan.

With a great believe in "don’t wait for things to happen - make them happen," she enjoys anything exciting life has to offer.

Author's Giveaway 
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Interview and Giveaway Missing Pieces by Nicola Haken

Published: December 2013

Description:

Seventeen-year-old Maddie Davis has spent her whole life on the move. With an unstable mother who has a knack for making bad decisions, she’s never stayed in one place long enough to remember its postcode. But this time is different… This time, she has been dragged half way across the world. Arriving in California and being forced to go back to school feels like stepping back in time. She wants to go home… 

Until she meets Blaine Elwood – the stepson of an old family friend. 

 Blaine appears to have it all. To the outside world, quarterback Blaine is rich, confident and has the ‘arrogant bad boy’ image down to a tee. But nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. Nobody ever can. He has vowed never to let anyone get too close – let anyone discover how weak he is. So when new girl Maddie starts tugging at strings he didn’t know existed in his heart, his only option is to push her away… 

Until he realizes how much he needs her. 

 Together, after being forced into adulthood from an early age, they begin to learn what it feels like to be young - to smile, to laugh... to love. So when shattered secrets and splintered lies start unraveling around them, will the trust they’ve worked so hard to build be irreparably destroyed? Or will they realize they are two pieces of the same broken puzzle?

MB's INTERVIEW

What is the biggest challenge for the authors when they want to transform sad, serious issues into a great, emotional story?
‘Feeling’ it. Personally I close my eyes and put myself in the situation. I watch as things play out like a movie in my head – I see the expressions on my character’s faces, I hear the tone of their voice and I literally feel what they are feeling. Then it’s simply a case of getting it out in words!

From what I read about “Missing Pieces”, it seems that two broken pieces can forge a solid whole. How is this possible in general and in Missing Pieces in particular? (without spoilers, please)
When you consider yourself broken it’s easy to believe you are unworthy or incapable of love. Sometimes it takes someone with similar jagged edges to show you that you were meant to fit together. For different reasons, Blaine and Maddie are both incomplete. Despite their young age they’ve been forced to grow up. They’re different from their friends. They feel like outsiders, like something must be missing within them. Alone, they are broken… but together they are one and the same. They ‘fit’. 

You are British. Why did you choose California as set for your story?
Mainly, because I have had an obsession with America since I was a little girl. It’s like a fantasy world for me and as a child I always wanted to live there. Growing up watching American movies, I fell in love with the glitz and glamour… and the accent! In fact when I was 10 I told my family I was only ever going to speak in an American accent from then on haha! (Don’t worry I grew out of that phase a day later). Of course in reality I know it’s not all Hollywood hotties, the rich and the famous lol! I suppose you always crave what you don’t know. I’m sure lots of Americans hold a similar intrigue about England, whereas to me it’s kind of boring. So if ‘I’ can’t live in California… I will live there through my imagination! 

To whom you think is more useful the alternation of the characters’ point of view: author, story or reader? Why so?
I think it’s important to everyone. I’m not saying all books need an alternate point of view, but when they do I think it’s fun for the author to be able to get inside two different heads. I think it can add more to the story too, offering different sets of takes and opinions on things, giving the reader the opportunity to stay ‘in the loop’ with what’s happening from both sides. As a reader, I love alternate point of views. I especially love being in the guy’s head. Sometimes having that extra opinion helps make sense of whatever’s going on in the story. 

What should be the forte of a romance story?
For me, it’s all about love – finding your soulmate… the one person who you would die in a heartbeat for. My favourite stories centre around broken characters. People who for whatever reason have deemed themselves either incapable or unworthy of love. Watching them change throughout the story, seeing them heal, accept themselves… fight – it’s what makes the perfect romance story.

About the author:
Nicola Haken
Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children (six if you include the dogs!) She is the author of New Adult/Contemporary romance novels Inevitable, Saving Amy and the Take My Hand series. 

When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…


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Interview and Giveaway Hemphill Towers by Leona Pence

Published: October 25th, 2013

Description:

Riley Saunders has her dream job. As an art director at a leading advertising agency, she works every day with her two best friends, Stella and Birdie. All three have been assigned to ensure that the Grand Opening of the Peterson Art Museum is nothing short of a success.

When a girl’s night out at a hot new Italian restaurant ends with a spilled bottle of wine, it sets in motion a series of events that leaves Stella and Birdie caught up in whirlwind romances, and Riley fearing for her life at the hands of a deranged stalker. But, when the handsome museum curator, Trent Peterson, learns of her situation, he vows to keep her safe.

In a quick-paced tale of fine art, wine forgery, and the Russian Mafia, Riley and her friends soon discover their pursuit of love will require them to expose a crime, thwart a murder, and trust the one thing that has never failed them…their friendship.

MB's INTERVIEW
Thank you, Mrs.Leona Pence
You said “happy endings were a must”. Why do you think people want a happy ending for their favourite books? 
Because reading, especially a romance, takes one away from their mundane existence and lets them soar away to places where everything turns out right. They need (I do) to close the book with a smile on their faces. Most have faced enough unhappy endings in reality, and prefer to read about happier things. 

You lived a love at first sight, but it is not a common thing and a lot of people don’t believe in it. How do you create the “set” for a credible one? 
My husband was a co-worker of my brother-in-law when I first met him. So somebody close to me knew him. I trusted my bro-in-law that he was a good man, and didn’t have the fear of going out with a total stranger. I’d set the scene where at least one person could vouch for the man…party at the office or friends, etc. In Hemphill Towers, all three of my heroes had a connection. 

In a movie (Speed #2, I think) the heroine said that a love born during a crisis is not meant to last. What is your and your characters opinion about that? 
I disagree and I think my characters would too. A crises can bring out empathy and understanding between two people. I see no reason why lasting love can’t follow. 

The description of Hemphill Towers offers the possibility for a lot of humor. What do you think about adding humor in a romantic suspense and there is any humor in Hemphill Towers? 
I think humor enhances any romance book. Yes, you’ll find some in Hemphill Towers. Humor helps define a character’s personality. Of course, a bad character can use humor to cover his devious nature. 

What do you think about romance literature of our day? 
I honestly believe romance literature has gone the way of the times and overdoes sexual content. My favorite author, Barbara Cartland, always had pure, virginal heroines. The heroes, Dukes, Squires, and other titled men were rakes for the most part. But until the vows were said, no sex, but plenty of sexuality. Not that my characters were all virginal, but I think the sexual scenes I wrote were tame in comparison to a lot of books I’ve read. 

However, I enjoy the works of a lot of new authors. Romance is here to stay, and I guess it too will reflect the time we live in.

About the author:
Leona Pence started reading romance novels as a teen. She graduated from Nancy Drew stories to Harlequin Romance, and then to her favorite author, Barbara Cartland and her vast Regency romance collection. Happy endings were a must.

Leona began writing late in life after the death of her husband of forty-four years. They married on her 19th birthday after a three month courtship – and yes – love at first sight really did happen.

She enjoys reading, writing, online pool, and especially being a Mentor in F2K, a free online writing course.


Author's Giveaway
The author is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a random commenter during the tour.

Guest Post and Giveaway Matt Archer: Bloodlines (Matt Archer #4) by Kendra C. Highley

Description:

When seventeen-year-old Matt Archer set out on his last mission in the Australian Outback, he thought it would be like every other hunt. 

Not even close. 

After only two days on the ground, his best friend is possessed, a long-lost family member has returned and hidden truths have come to the surface. Add in a coven of witches bent on bringing about the end of the world and, well, this trip has started to suck. Badly. 

As his power and strength continue to grow, so does Matt’s concern that he’s becoming more and more like the creatures he’s been charged to hunt: a monster.

Faced with some of his biggest challenges to date, Matt has to decide what he needs to protect most—his family, his team…or himself.

GUEST POST
Character Development: A Musical View 

It’s no secret that I’m a huge music lover. I listen at work, in the car, while folding laundry…and especially while writing. I need a soundtrack for every book, and the Matt series is no different. What I’ve loved is watching (or maybe listening) how Matt’s “sound” has changed from book to book. Book 4, Bloodlines, was no exception. It’s harder, more driving. 

So what songs fit Matt in book Bloodlines? Check out the list below: 

1. “Kill Your Heroes” AWOLNATION 
2. “Buried Alive” Avenged Sevenfold 
3. “The Growl” Conway 
4. “Ready Aim Fire” Imagine Dragons 
5. “Some Kind of Joke” AWOLNATION 
6. “New Divide” Linkin Park 
7. “Monster” Imagine Dragons 
8. “Radioactive” Imagine Dragons 
9. “How Do You Like Me Now?” The Heavy 
10. “Demons” (Ella’s Song) Imagine Dragons 
11. “Building a Mystery” (Mamie’s Song) Sarah McLachlan 

I guess you could say I find myself a big Imagine Dragons fan now. I didn’t even hear of them until about four months ago, and now they are a staple of my writing music…to the point that I name-drop the band in Bloodlines. Two of my favorite bands—Coldplay and U2—are putting out new albums next year. I can’t wait to see what I can write to that!

EXCERPT




“I’ll kill you! I’ll kill all of you and drink your blood!”

My best friend was in rare form this evening. Will had been ranting like that ever since he managed to spit out the bandana we’d gagged him with. No one felt like dealing with him,
though, so we didn’t bother shoving the gag back in.

Still, I felt responsible for his well-being, even if Will was possessed by a demon and not his usual happy asshat self. I grabbed an MRE—a hamburger patty for the entree—and ducked inside the command tent, one of the few left standing after last night’s monster attack. The interior smelled like sweat, piss and…burned bacon?

“Gross, dude,” I told not-Will. “You smell like a prison latrine.”

Not-Will spit at me. His face was pale in the dim light, but his eyes glowed a brilliant jade green. “You’ll beg for mercy before the end.”

“That’s getting really old. Why don’t you give your voice a rest, okay?” I held up the MRE.

“I’m guessing that even demons have to eat. You hungry?”

Not-Will shut up for a moment, but his muscles still strained against the towing cable keeping him tied to his cot. My best friend, at six-four and two-hundred-forty pounds, was pretty strong on his own. Add in a little dark magic, and he was like a tank with legs. It had taken three guys to tie him up, and the Humvee’s towing cable—one end still attached to the vehicle—had been the only thing hefty enough to keep not-Will chained.

“I would appreciate a meal,” he said in a formal, polite voice.

That wasn’t like the real Will, either.

“Okay. I’ll feed you and bring you some water, if only to keep your mouth full so you can’t scream at us for a while.”

I opened the MRE, discarding anything not-Will could use as a weapon if he got loose.
Because his hands were tied behind his back, I had to feed him.

“Seriously, man, if you remember any of this after we exorcise you, you’ll never live it down,” I muttered as not-Will chomped up his food like a rabid dog.

“I’ll kill you soon, so none of that matters,” not-Will said, smiling and showing me bits of carrot in his teeth.

In any other situation, I’d have laughed. This evening, I had too much on mind to find any of this funny.

Badass Aunt Julie poked her head in the tent while I attempted to shovel applesauce into not-Will’s mouth. She wrinkled her nose at the stench. “Poor Will.”

“Hello, gorgeous.” Not-Will leered at my aunt, and his eyes roamed every part of her body.

Even wearing desert print battle-dress uniform, Aunt Julie was gorgeous…and no one but my
Uncle Mike had license to look at her that way. My fists clenched as he said, “Think I’ll keep you around a while after I’ve killed all the men. We could have a little fun.”

Aunt Julie gave not-Will a dangerous smile. The demon must not know who he was dealing with. “I’d like to see you try. I could kill you with a nail. Or a spoon.” Her smile faded into a scowl. “Or a tire-iron. I’m not picky.”

“Captain, did you need something?” I asked, not in the mood to break up a tent brawl. When in doubt, interrupt.

“Sorry,” she said, rubbing her eyes. “The major got worried so I came to check on you.”

I shrugged; Major Tannen—also known as my Uncle Mike and Aunt Julie’s husband—had reason to worry. Right now, it seemed like this day would never, ever end.

I’d gotten most of the food into not-Will’s mouth and I was ready to escape. “Will, if you’re in there, kick that demon’s ass, okay? See you later.”

We’d barely cleared the tent before he started screaming threats again. Every muscle in my back tensed up. “Tell the major I’ll be at the other end of camp.” I jabbed a thumb at the command tent. “I don’t think I can handle listening to that anymore.”

Aunt Julie patted my shoulder. “We’ll fix it. Agent Archer thinks his contact with the local Nocturna Maura coven can help displace Will’s demon.”

Agent Archer…maybe if I called him that—instead of Dad—this whole situation would be a little less weird.

I doubted it, though. “I need some air.”

I stalked to the far end of camp and settled down facing west. The sun was beginning to set, and I needed its warmth and protection for as long as it lasted. Night would bring horrors, and I had to be prepared to fight them.

I reached into my left jacket pocket and pulled out the St. Christopher medal my girlfriend had given me more than a year ago. I turned it over and over in my hand. I missed Ella like crazy, and the medal gave me hope that I’d live to see another dawn.

Dad came striding out of the HQ tent and headed my direction. He didn’t see Uncle Mike step out behind him, his right arm bound up in a sling. Not-Will had dislocated Uncle Mike’s shoulder in addition to breaking my nose last night. Mike watched Dad’s progress with narrowed eyes. I let out a long breath. As if I didn’t have enough to deal with; now I was caught in a tug of war between the guy who fathered me and the man who raised me. My life could easily be a three-ring circus for all the chaos and drama going on around me.

“Tink, think you could, I don’t know, teleport me somewhere?”

No answer.

“Crap, now I’m missing you and Ella. How’s that for irony?”

Still nothing. Yeah, Tink was well and truly gone. Our knife-spirits had been banished
somehow. Not-Will had told us his mistress had sent them away. As angry as I’d been with Tink when we left on this mission, the absence of her presence in my head left an echoing emptiness.

And despair, too. How could we complete this operation without the spirits’ help? I had to get her back somehow, if not for me, for Will. I’d seen Tink save someone else from a demon possession—maybe she’d be able to help Will, too.


If only I could find her.




About the authors:
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.


Author's Giveaway
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Cover Reveal and Giveaway Kylie Ryans series by Caisey Quinn


Custom Photography by Lauren Perry of L. Perry Designs
Book Cover Design by E.M. Tippetts Book Design
Cover Model: Teale Murdock
Series Description:

A girl with a dream and a guitar...
A troubled artist struggling to hold onto his career...
What they found was each other.
Girl with Guitar
(old cover)
After Kylie’s dad dies in a freak accident, he leaves her with nothing other than her crazy step-mother, Darla, and the ability to play guitar. When Darla kicks Kylie out and she loses her job all in the same day, she hops a bus to Nashville determined to make her late father’s dreams come true. Waitressing and saving her pennies to record a demo, her big break comes when she’s asked to join a tour going down the tubes with once platinum album-selling country music superstar Trace Corbin. But touring with Trace is hardly a dream come true since he’s pretty much drinking his career down the drain. If Kylie can’t pull Trace out of his rut, he’ll pull her and her dreams down with him.

(old cover)
An up and comer trying to make a name for herself...

KYLIE never expected to be stuck on a tour bus with a pampered princess and her boyfriend’s ex.

A troubled artist struggling to hold onto his career...

TRACE thought he was finally getting to do things his way. Until the label added co-headliner Gretchen Gibson, the only person in country music with more issues than him, to his No Apologies tour.

Surrounded by tabloid rumors and people they can't trust, Kylie and Trace need each other more than ever. But the choices they make will change everything.

Because chasing your dreams and following your heart don’t always lead you to the same place…

Release Date: February 4th, 2014

She's living her dream...

Kylie Ryans is the biggest thing to come out of Nashville since, well, since Trace Corbin. With a hit album and a powerful label behind her, she appears to be the girl who has it all.

But appearances can be deceiving.

Fresh out of rehab, Trace Corbin is ready to take on the world. Just not the girl he walked away from. Because if there's one thing he knows for certain, it's that the people you love are the ones who have the power to destroy you.

As their worlds collide, they'll have to make the ultimate choice. Follow their dreams, or give it all up for love.

They say love conquers all, but for Kylie and Trace, it just might wreck everything they've worked for.

Girl in Love - Special DELUXE EDITION paperbacks with bonus content will be available for a limited time HERE

About the author:
Caisey Quinn lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series as well as several New and Young Adult Romance novels featuring country girls finding love in unexpected places. You can find her online at www.caiseyquinnwrites.com.


Author's Giveaway

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Party! Happy Release Day! Samadhi (Love and Light #3) by Melissa Lummis

Description:

Wolf and Loti are learning the hard way that karma will not be denied. In their quest for the truth, they've been forced into a blood bond with a powerful witch who isn't so sure she wants to be tied down. But there's one thing they can agree on: it’s time to eliminate the ancient vampire who set off this deadly chain of events--Modore.

Using any means necessary--torture, murder, and even death magic--Modore lures the triumvirate into the show down of their lives. And the consequences will far exceed even Modore's imagination.

In this final installment of the Love and Light Series, the boundaries of love, lust, and even life itself will be tested and the universe as they know it will never be the same.




About the author:
Melissa Lummis considers herself a truth seeker, a peaceful warrior, a paranormal and fantasy writer, an avid reader, a thru-hiker GAàME ’98, a Penn Stater, a wife, a mother, and a free thinker. She believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer. And if we live our lives as if it is a daring adventure (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.

Her books have been described as new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but they are also straight up, steamy Paranormal Romance. The Love and Light Series is currently available at most ebook retailers and soon to come is the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.

Melissa lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures. The nature of her mind dictates that she write to stay sane. Otherwise, her fertile imagination takes off on tangents of its own accord, creating scenarios and worlds that confuse the space-time continuum.

Namaste, dear friends.


Cover Reveal Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths #4) by K.A. Tucker

Special Cover Reveal

A new puzzle piece will be revealed each day leading up to February 5th. On February 5th, K.A. Tucker will reveal the entire cover and an excerpt on her site.
This is our puzzle piece:

Release Date: June 2014

Description:

Sometimes you can’t change—and sometimes you just don’t want to. Discover Ben’s side of the story in this fourth novel by the beloved, top-selling indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths, One Tiny Lie, and Four Seconds to Lose.


Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.

Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.

If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…


About the author:
Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.


Cover Reveal organized by INK Slinger PR Blogger