Shattered & Shaken Blog Tour Kit
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**18+ Mature Audience Only**
Allie Anderson has encountered more heartache than any one person deserves. She’s lost her father to cancer, her brother to war, and the love of her life –Wyatt – took her most prized possession and vanished without a trace. She’s left crushed and heart-broken.
Blake, Allie’s best friend, is everything she needs; he’d give her the moon if she asked for it, but there’s one problem – he wants Allie entirely. How can Allie give herself to anyone when she’s not sure there’s enough left of her heart to give away?
Allie’s life begins to fall into place. Her heart begins to heal. Being happy is no longer a foreign emotion. That is until the man who broke her years ago returns, shattering her fragile heart all over again.
Allie soon discovers that hearts are like broken glass; you can put it back together again, but it will never be the same.
Born and raised in Nashville, TN. A mother of three, wife to one, and nursing student turned writer. Loves all things pink, glittery, and chocolate.
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Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen
A Proper Romance
Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined.
I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me.
I seldom review a book I so thoroughly enjoy! In an age of open sexuality, paranormalism and dystopia, Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen is a wonderful breath of fresh air.
Just Ella, a historical romance, still addresses the challenges of all ages: who am I and how do I fit into this world; and how do I live with myself if I don’t do the right thing?
Just Ella tells the tale of a young royal learning her place in society but yearning for a life with more meaning. Ella finds herself stifled by being a princess and searches for a way to alleviate the monotony her station brings with it. She has always loved the gardens and begins to explore, finding more than she bargained for in Gavin, a young gardener. Their love evolves and brings many troubles from the moment their time shared together is discovered.
The love of Ella and Gavin is obvious to the outsider from the onset. But watching them traverse the expectations of Ella’s family and of their era is, to me, like watching the young love of Romeo and Juliet develop over the life of William Shakespeare’s play of the same name. It is pure and full of innocence, yet filled with despair, and even treachery, at every turn.
The beauty of watching Ella from her first moments of true love, through the battles of growing up, meeting the expectations of family and her place in society, and becoming the confident woman she is meant to be is a thing of profound beauty.
Annette K. Larsen has taken what is, to me, the hardest part of a young life and transported me back in time to the age of kings and queens, princes and princesses, and my dream as a young girl, of finding prince charming and living happily ever after. I sincerely hope there will be many more novels in the future from Annette K. Larsen.
“My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it.” The book Just Ella takes that lesson to its very heart and teaches all of us that doing the right thing will always bring about the best ending. I hope more people, both young and older, will read this novel and learn this lesson.
I write clean romance. Why? Because that’s what I love to read, but over the years I’ve discovered it’s quite a challenge to find good clean romance. I believe it’s a genre that many people are looking for and too few authors are writing. My first novel, Just Ella, took me many years to write because I wanted it to be more than just a cutesy love story. I wanted it to have depth, to feel genuine. Hopefully I succeeded, but you’ll have to be the judge.
Praise for Just Ella
“I fell in love with this book. Treat yourself to something wonderful. You can’t go wrong with Just Ella!” ~Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
“By far one of the best romance novels I’ve ever read. Pulls you in with great, likable characters and keeps you going with a sweet and exciting love story–plus a good plot to give it even more substance. Full of those tender moments you want to go back and read again, plus exciting moments, clever humor, and some suspense as well.” ~Jana Miller
“Annette Larsen writes a love story that takes time, is complicated, and yet still sweeps you up in the romance (without the cheese, thank you). It’s compelling and emotional and sweet and you will love every page.” ~Kimi
Book Blast/Blog Tour Special
Grab your copy of Just Ella for just $4.99!
I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff Arizona and St. Louis Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended college at Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children.
I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to sacrifice what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but it the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it.
I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.
“When have we ever seen anyone else out here?”
“Just because we haven’t doesn’t mean we couldn’t.”
“Well, I’m sorry you regret confiding in me, but I’m not going to stop coming here.”
“I don’t want you to stop coming here. I love that you come here. But you have to let me come with you.”
“Because you can protect me from the wicked world?” My voice was mocking, mean.
His eyes narrowed. “I can hold my own,” he said in absolute seriousness. For the first time I considered his build in relation to something other than his striking looks. The years of hard physical work had resulted in toned muscle and rough, strong hands. He would be good in a fight. The thought made me swallow. “Can you say the same for yourself?”
I looked down at the book I’d been reading, rubbing one hand over the cover in agitation while my face burned. The guilt I felt at his reprimand surprised me. “All right,” I conceded. “You can come from now on.”
He moved close to me, then brush a curl behind my ear. “I’m sorry,” he said softly.
I had to keep myself from closing my eyes as the warmth of his touch rippled down my spine. “I’m fine.”
“I’m still sorry.”
I rested my chin on my knees, staring at the water for a minute. “How old are you?” My quiet question broke the silence.
“Eighteen,” he answered, close to my ear. “How old are you?”
I turned to glare at him but was momentarily distracted to find him leaning toward me, smiling. I had the oddest urge to kiss the smirk off his face.
Forcing myself to look at his eyes, I resumed my glaring. He knew my age. Everyone knew, because everyone prepared for it. “I’ll be sixteen in five days,” I said caustically.
He just kept smiling. “Happy Birthday.”
Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Title: An Illustrated Death
Author: Judi Culberton
Publication Date: October 1, 2013, (ebook only) by Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
When bookseller Delhi Laine gets the opportunity to appraise the late Nate Erikson’s personal library, she jumps at the chance. It’s not every day a bookseller gets to peek into the mind of a famous illustrator, not to mention his fascinating collection of rare books. Invited to spend time with the artistic Erikson clan at the family compound in the Hamptons, Delhi is intrigued by their eccentric and eclectic ways.
But when death visits the family once more and another Erikson is found dead, dark family secrets come to light—including the death of Nate Erikson himself. Surrounded by the charmed family not quite as idealic as they once seemed, Delhi is determined to solve the murders once and for all. But digging up truths can get you dirty…and Delhi is about to discover how far some will go to keep them buried.
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About the Author:
Judi Culbertson graduated from Hampton DuBose High School in Florida, and majored in creative writing at Wheaton College in Illinois. After two years in Philadelphia she moved to Long Island where her son Andy was born. Here she published GAMES CHRISTIANS PLAY (Harper & Row, 1967), followed by THE LITTLE WHITE BOOK ON RACE (Lippincott, 1970) with a friend, Patti Bard.
In 1970 Judi began working for the Suffolk County Department of Social Services, working with families at risk, children in foster care and, finally, in the Court Unit where she wrote petitions to free children for adoption. During this time she was writing articles for Glamour, The New York Times, Newsday, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Working Mother, and others and travel stories for major newspapers.
In 1986, after a trip to Paris, Judi and her husband, Tom Randall, wrote a travel story that developed into PERMANENT PARISIANS,An Illustrated Biographical Guide to the Cemeteries of Paris, published in 1987 by Chelsea Green Press. This was followed by four more: PERMANENT NEW YORKERS; LONDONERS; CALIFORNIANS; and ITALIANS
After earning an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Vermont College, Judi published THE NURSERY (St. Martin’s Press, 1996). By then she had started speaking professionally on a subject that had long fascinated her, people’s attachment to stuff. This led to two books: SCALING DOWN, Living Large in a Smaller Space, written with Marj Decker (Rodale 2005) and THE CLUTTER CURE (McGraw-Hill, 2007).
Judi left social work in 1999 to pursue her interest in selling used and rare books on the Internet.
It is this background that helped create the Secondhand Prose Mystery Series. A NOVEL DEATH is the first book, published by Avalon Books in June 2011. AN ILLUSTRATED DEATH will be published on October 1, 2013 by Harper/Collins. When not writing, she and Tom travel extensively and enjoy their twin grandchildren, Andrew and Emily, as well as the three cats they live with: Ignatz, Vladimir, and Pangur.
Ten (10) ecopies of An Illustrated Death. Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download.
Tour Schedule (link to the tour banner)
The dead man smiled up at me.
I stared back sadly. Then I read the newspaper clipping on my worktable one more time.
llustrator, Granddaughter Drown in Family Pool
Tragedy struck an artistic dynasty in Springs yesterday morning when Nate Erikson, 67, and Morgan Marshall, 4, drowned in a swimming pool on the grounds of the family’s estate. The victims were rushed to Southampton Hospital, where efforts at resuscitation failed. A police spokesman stated that Mr. Erikson had been attempting to rescue his granddaughter, but succumbed himself.
Because I make my living selling used and rare books over the Internet, I spend a lot of time in the ancient barn behind my house, cataloging new finds and shipping them around the world. The story about Nate Erikson had lain next to my computer for the past three months. Whenever I read it I felt the same emptiness I’d had when John Updike and Robert Parker died. But my connection to Nate Erikson went back even further, to my childhood and Bible Stories for Good Children.
I was not a good child, but my Methodist parents took the title at face value, never noticing the wry twists Nate gave to the illustrations. Instead of the cliché image of Noah leading pairs of docile animals onto the ark, the patriarch was shown about to lose his temper with two recalcitrant lion cubs. Isaac was pictured after the sacrifice attempt, looking at the knife in his father’s hand with disbelief.
Care for another walk up the mountain, son?
You’re kidding, right, Dad?.
My parents suspected nothing until they found my twin sister, Patience, and me trying to raise our little brother from the dead.
“Don’t breathe,” Patience commanded. “Don’t breathe until I say, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ ”
“Jon, I can see your stomach moving,” I accused.
Bible Stories for Good Children disappeared from the room we shared.
Happily Ever Afterlife
Edited by Untold Press
In Support of the Boston Children’s Hospital:
Troy Lambert, author the The Angel, will be donating 50% of his Happily Ever Afterlife royalties to the Boston Children’s Hospital. Untold press has pledged to match his donation. J.A. Campbell, author of The Baron and the Firebird, will also be donating 50% of her royalties! Pick up your copy today and support a great cause!
Donations can also be made here: http://howtohelp.childrenshospital.org/events/page/Troy-Lambert/HappilyEverAfterlife.htm
Revisit your favorite childhood fairy tales…with a paranormal twist. Eight classic stories rewritten by eight talented authors with one common theme, they all feature the undead. From angels to vampires and ghosts to zombies, you’ll be sure to fall in love with the classics all over again and quickly learn that even the undead can have a happily ever after.
In the Belly of the Wolf by Amanda Carman
Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t stray from the path. If you do, the wolf will eat you. Once swallowed, you will be trapped forever in the dark and musty limbo of the belly of the wolf, a larger and more crowded world than you ever suspected. You can’t blame him, though. After all, wolves will be wolves.
The Glass Coffin by Emmalyn Greyson
When Marianna’s stepmother betrays her by having her turned into a vampire, she must flee home and the love of her life. Darren, her werewolf lover, believes he’s found a cure. Will it lead to heartache or happily ever after?
Hans and the Best Day Ever by G.L. Jackson
After a seven-year apprenticeship with the Boss Lady, Hans decides it’s time to go home. Accompanied by Gabe, the two boys make their way back to the house in the woods where they hope to find Hans’ mother. Gabe is never at a loss for words but Hans is always quick to act on what might either be a fantastic idea…or the worst idea ever.
The Baron and the Firebird by J.A. Campbell
In the depths of the Russian wilderness, Baron Pyotr Vasilyev does his best to care for his people but his long years weigh heavily and he’s beginning to lose his taste for life. The only things that keep him going are his devotion to duty and his magical cherries. When his cherries go missing the thief turns out to be the Firebird. The desire to hear her sing one last time drives him through the centuries.
Clara and the Coon by M.K. Boise
Clara is born the height of a quarter–an abomination to the village of Fankfret. On the outskirts of town, she’s left to die in a hole that’s the size of a teapot. She soon learns her story is far from over though. Getting eaten by a raccoon is just the beginning.
Blood Borne Pathogen by Shoshanah Holl
Javier is too young to be waiting for death, but in the hospital battling late-stage AIDs there isn’t room for much else in his mind. A mysterious woman begins visiting him and they form a strange friendship. Aurora only comes to visit after the sun goes down, leaving long before dawn. On the Day of the Dead, they both face the choice between life, death…and what comes after.
In Spite of Fire by Tilly Boscott
Alice’s husband, Henry, died, leaving her to wander the world alone, searching for a way to bring him back. When she stumbles upon village gossip describing a place where ghosts dwell, she sets off to find her lost love. Instead of her husband, she discovers a ghost with eyes of fire, keen on the contents of a ragged tree. Alice clambers into an adventure of fear, darkness and true love.
The Angel by Troy Lambert
Abel is a poor urchin, trying to survive on the streets with only his wits to protect him and a tiny garden of struggling flowers to bring him pleasure. Zach is a young boy struggling in the fight of his life against the blight of cancer who wants to see the flowers of spring one last time. It seems inevitable that these young souls will soon leave the earth. But what awaits them in the beyond?
Ebook Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Happily-Ever-Afterlife-ebook/dp/B00FWFKZK8
Goodreads book link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18583408-happily-ever-afterlife
Untold Press: www.untoldpress.com
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at Untold Press! Win a #20 Amazon gift card or swag!
“Why don’t you tell us about the box?” Cole said, her voice calm and steady despite the marionette-like stare of Mr. Edwards.
“It’s my box.” He repeated.
“Fine. Alright. It’s your box. I just want to know more about it, like the carvings. Do you know what they are?”
Mr. Edwards cocked his head and squinted at the younger sister. “Carvings are something made by cutting wood. An object or design formed by cutting and shaping a material such as wood or stone—”
Kaylyn had heard enough, but as soon as she took a step forward, Cole glared at her.
“The guy has gone dark. His power ring has faded.” She kept her jaw clenched, wondering how much—if any—of the conversation the man actually understood by now. “Let’s just grab the jewels and get out before his head explodes.”
“There are no explosive devices in my head, Kaylyn.”
She bit her lip, she certainly hadn’t offered her name. “Okay, Mr. Edwards—”
“Sure….” She choked on her words as the man’s lips turned up into what she assumed was supposed to be a smile. “Gib, what’s going on here?”
“You’re trying to take my box.”
“Yeah,” Kaylyn nodded. This conversation was getting redundant fast. “We got that part. We’re quick like that, you know.”
“I do know. You thought you could find my box and take it away. But, I won.”
“So you did, Gib.” Cole took a step forward, but marionette-man hunkered over the box like it was his heir.
Cole took another step. “Where’s Mr. Edwards?”
“He took a vacation. He’s probably sipping Mai Tais on the shores of Maui right now.”
“That’s a quick trip.”
“Yes, anything is possible when you use your imagination. You two are particularly familiar with that, aren’t you? Losing yourselves in a slightly altered unreality.”
Kaylyn shook her head and stumbled backward. For a dimwit, he definitely had down the creepy intuition and dictionary memorization.
Available on Amazon, October 22, 2013.
Kaylyn Anderson’s fascination with abandoned places and dark creatures kindled her work as a paranormal investigator. But when dreams begin to distort reality, she questions what is real and pulls away from everyone she trusts. The opportunity to investigate the Teague Hotel–a long-abandoned landmark that has always piqued her curiosity–provides a chance to redeem herself. Unraveling the hotel’s secrets won’t be easy, but Kaylyn soon finds herself the target of a dark entity that has been trapped in the building for decades.
If Kaylyn stands any chance of defeating the spirit, she’ll have to accept that her fears are real and convince fellow investigators that she hasn’t lost her mind.
About the Author: Skye Callahan
Skye Callahan was born and raised in Ohio and has seen enough unbelievable stuff to feed a lifetime of paranormal stories. When not writing or working at the dayjob, she hangs out with her ethnomusicologist husband and pet ferrets, reads, and takes long walks through the cemetery.
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October 14- A Creative Mind
October 15-Sunshine & Mountains Book Reviews
October 16-My Beautiful NightMare
October 17-Room With Books
October 18-Ch’kara SilverWolf
October 19-Amber Daulton Author
October 20-All in a Book
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October 22-Release Day BLITZ!!
October 23-Depression is my Illusion but Books are my Reality & Books A to Z
October 24-Once Upon a YA Book & Taylor Grace
October 25-Sydney Aaliyah & Because Reading is better than real life
Ronin is also chasing his dream—a family of his own and a life away from erotic modeling. And he too, has a past he’s trying to forget. A past that makes Rook question everything about their life together.
Lies, secrets, and shocking truths will rock the foundation Rook and Ronin have built. Can they put the past behind them and move forward together? Or is this just another too good to be true relationship that will crash and burn in the end?
JA Huss is a SF and new adult romance junkie, has a love-hate relationship with the bad boys, and likes to write new adult books about people with real problems. She lives with her family on a small acreage farm in Colorado and has two donkeys named Paris and Nicole. Before writing fiction, she authored almost two hundred science workbooks and always has at least three works in progress. Her first new adult romance is called TRAGIC.
Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel
by Linda Bennett Pennell
Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by-one, people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or white, is safe from the Klan’s self-righteous vigilantism. Jack’s older sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fiancé, a sheriff’s deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone, possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn, they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed.
Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words I love you. Despite entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence, and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed forever.
August 15, 2011
Liz Reams glanced at the caller ID and grimaced. She didn’t have time for this, but guilt wouldn’t let her put the conversation off any longer. Sighing, she pressed the talk button and prepared to listen with forbearance and humility.
“Hello, Roberta. I’m so glad to hear your voice. I was beginning to think we were going to play phone tag forever.” Internally, Liz squirmed. Her conscience yelled, liar, you returned calls when you figured you’d get her voicemail.
Roberta’s reply made Liz cringe. While she endured the diatribe pouring through her cell phone, Liz eyed her purse, book bag, and laptop case huddled together on the sofa. She couldn’t afford to be late today of all days. Her eyes narrowed as her gaze paused on her laptop. She had paid more than a month’s rent for the thing, but as much as she loved its power and speed, it was also a constant reminder of her dereliction. It only compounded her guilt that everything Roberta said was true.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.
As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to herself or himself, “Let’s pretend.”
I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband, one German Shorthaired Pointer who thinks she’s a little girl, and one striped yellow cat who knows she’s queen of the house.
Favorite quote regarding my professional passion: “History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” Voltaire
Linda will be awarding a $15 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn host.
We encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. Click here for the tour dates.
Smashwords (discount code – EV75K) : https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/289845
Title: Eyrie (Society of Feathers #2)
Author: Emma Michaels
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Blitz Host: Lady Amber’s Tours
The truth is being unveiled and Iris’ past is unlike anything she ever could have guessed. For Stryx, finding your missing half doesn’t always mean finding your mate. Iris has been missing a part of herself for so long that no one is sure she will be able to put the pieces back together and her ever reliable dreams may be forcing her astray. Coping with the death of someone she loved, she is forced to face the truth and break free from the lies that have caged her.
Emma Michaels entered the industry as a book blogger but soon found herself working with numerous publishers as an author and cover artist. While her love of blogging has continued to live on (www.EmmaMichaels.com) she enjoys delving into brand new worlds in her short stories and ‘Society of Feathers’ series.
Iris lost herself in Falcon’s arms, feeling the world drift away again as her lips melted against his stronger, larger ones. The warmth spreading through her body felt like electricity filling very part of her, pooling at the tips of her fingers where she touched his shoulders then traced along his arms. The tension that had worked its way up her back and through her own shoulders released as his hand brushed lightly down the length of her spine, sending sparks through every nerve.
“Please,” she whispered softly, centimeters from his lips as they breathed in each other’s warm breath. She felt herself lean towards him, this time not holding back as she moved his arm to her waist, making him wrap both arms around her fully. His secure hold on her was the only thing keeping her upright.
“Anything,” he whispered into her ear a few moments later after she had caught her breath.
“Be the one beside me when I enter the masquerade. Be the one by my side when I change it all. I know I can do it on my own or with Nestor but…I don’t want to. I want you both there with me,” Iris said.
The look on Falcon’s face, the light in his eyes, showed her the joy he found in her invitation. “I was waiting for you to ask. Waiting for you to want to need me, even if you never will. It would be my pleasure, Izzy. I will always be there for you. Nothing could pull me away.” He didn’t say the words but they still hung silently between them, the knowledge that anyone who tried to pull him away from her would die trying. She knew she should be afraid, but somehow he was the only person she knew she could trust, the only one her heart was perfectly sure about, like a tether tied them together, connecting their lives.
“I do need you. Even if I don’t, I still need you.” She whispered and kissed him harder, forgetting the world outside their doors, ready to explore the man that the boy she had known had become. The man who felt like such a part of her now that she had accepted him. She didn’t know what she’d do if she ever lost him. She had never felt a connection this powerful, this all consuming.
“I love you.” He whispered, his eyes gazing into hers, their intensity only pulling her further into the joy of just being close to him, just letting herself forget the world she wanted so desperately to help, to change. “I want to do something for you.”
“What is it?” Iris almost pulled back, not wanting to lose the moment between them but instead she leaned the side of her face against his chest so that she could hear his heart beating.
“I want to show you what it’s like to run without hesitation, without taking away the one part of running that makes it so magical the freedom. I want to show you that freedom.” He bent and traced his fingers along the back of her legs. They buckled but he lifted her, taking it as an invitation.
She smiled and leaned against his chest. This time he wasn’t carrying her because something was wrong. It was like when they were kids and he wanted to show her he was strong enough to support her, that he could be that person who would pick her up even if she hadn’t fallen. He walked to the door and she turned the doorknob for him. They found Autumn in the hallway.
“Wanna go for a run?” Falcon asked Autumn, his voice a conspiratory whisper.
“Sure!” She said and smiled lightly when she realized what Falcon was planning. “Every girl should get to feel the aves inside of her come alive.”
Iris smiled feeling like she had her team. They were the people she needed and wanted by her side. They were the ones who kept her human and kind, protecting her at all costs. Nestor was upstairs with Nathaniel preparing for his duties in their upcoming plans. The rest of her family was downstairs. As they jogged by, they passed Jarem on the way, heading up to meet Diana. “We’re going running, wanna come?” Falcon offered and Iris laughed.
“If you invite everyone we may as well all go.” Iris giggled and smiled widely, looking forward to it, not caring who decided to come. Iris knew that no matter how people surrounded her and Falcon, somehow they were always alone. They were the only two people in on the secret. That was their unusual type of love. It would only grow with time and trust as long as it was never betrayed.
“Sure, why not.” Jarem said and smiled. He opened the door to Diana’s room and hollered, “We’re going running with Falcon, wanna come?”
“Absolutely!” They heard Diana yell back. She joined them even though she was wearing a short dress. Not bothering to change, she threw a pair of high-tops on with it.
As they jogged through the house David joined them, leaving the fort to Neal, Garah and Griffin so as not to disturb Nathaniel and Nestor. When they went out the door, Diana led them to the back of the house, going through the garden to a strange trail beyond it. “Is this the fairy trail?” Jarem asked. When Diana nodded, he smiled and looked at Iris. “It’s perfect.”
“Wooooo!” Diana shouted, crying out like a hawk soaring through the sky. Jarem and even Autumn joined in and Iris realized it was for her and Falcon, egging them on. Falcon set her on her feet and knelt down the way he once had to offer her a ride on his back. She blushed feeling like that same little girl for one beautiful moment, attaching herself to his back and holding onto him tightly.
The bird calls got louder and louder until Falcon got ready and whispered, “You ready?”
“Yes.” She whispered next to his ear and then looked straight ahead realizing, she really did need him. Falcon knew what she needed even before she did. As he started running, she shifted her weight and realized, she fit so well against his back, like they had been molded for just this moment, for him to give her the freedom that her body robbed her of. Suddenly her grudges against her body for being made the way it was disappeared as the wind whipped her hair away from her face. She arched her back ever so slightly to get the full effect and to keep her weight manageable for Falcon as he ran faster and faster. Her heart felt like it was soaring for the very first time. There was nothing like it, the faster he went the more amazing it felt. All she could feel was the earth around her and the link to her aves.
She couldn’t help but giggle with glee as she watched Diana pass them, holding her arms out at her sides like wings. The wind was pushing her arms behind her, and her face was lifted toward the sunlight shining through the trees. Jarem sped to catch up with her and they started to race each other, getting competitive each time one of them would pass the other.
Autumn was at Falcon’s side as she called out, “Oh come on, go for it. She’ll love it!”
“Faster!” Iris squealed like a little kid, the sheer joy of movement giving her a rush she had never felt before. As she leaned her face against Falcon’s, she could feel that he was smiling as he gained speed. He wrapped his arms behind her, entwining his fingers at her back like he was stretching as his position formed a brace for her. She leaned into it and as he went faster and faster. She slowly let go of his shoulders and held her arms out at her sides like Diana. The sun beat down on her face and arms. As she closed her eyes, she felt like she was flying, really and truly flying.