CAMOUFLAGE BY IVY KEATING & SCOTT SPOTSON SPOTLIGHT TOUR

 

CAMOUFLAGE

BY IVY KEATING & SCOTT SPOTSON

A missing man, a new police chief and an unexpected New England town mystery.

When Sean Dermott, the newly appointed police chief, sees the report that a popular local high school coach is missing, his growing fascination with the alluring Vanessa Strauss, who reported the disappearance, makes him determined to solve the case.

The investigation leads him and his team deep into Quarry Head Park, a local scenic preserve with nature trails and expansive views. There is no sign of the missing man, but what he does find terrifies him to the core.

From the depths of the park, a deadly prehistoric looking creature emerges, attacks swiftly and silently, leaving devastation in its wake. In the chaos which follows, it is up to Chief Dermott and a team of scientists to fight for balance by ensuring the safety of his town and preserving this remarkable discovery.

He will risk his career, his reputation and even his own life to stand by what he believes to be right. The question is, will he succeed, or will all be lost?

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Motivated by nature’s mysteries and the complexity of human behaviour, Ivy Keating writes science fiction and fantasy novels exploring the relationship between mankind and the natural world.

A master’s degree in social work helps her explore the nature of her characters and give them added depth as they grapple with the repercussions of their actions. This novel was inspired by the landscape and natural beauty of New England.

An area that inspired the question… what if?

www.ivykeating.com ~ Instagram ~ Twitter

 

The following week on Monday, when Sean returned to work, he found new information on the homicide in Lakeside Park in his inbox.

The fingerprints lifted from the evidence belong to Marcus Branca. He is now the number one suspect. He’s also the prime suspect in a robbery caught on tape in Litchfield. The security video from the drugstore robbery and a mug shot are attached.

The next paragraph got him thinking.

A current address for the suspect is not confirmed. His mother, Evelyn Branca lives at 201 Daleview Circle in Norwalk, Connecticut. A transcript of her statement is attached. She stated the last time she saw her son was two years ago in October when he asked her for money.

He’s robbing close to home. He has no confirmed address, and he last called his mother two years ago.

Sean’s gut told him—she’s lying.

He closed the email to focus on the open cases within his department.

The results of the forensic tests from the soil samples should be in.

He placed the call to the lab. The receptionist told him the tests were completed and transferred him to a technician who gave him the results. “The soil samples you sent over came up negative for synthetic and natural rubber. No trace metals either. We found nothing man-made in it.”

Sean thanked the woman. Nothing then.

He glanced at the time on his computer screen. In one hour, he needed to attend a seminar on emergency protocols as outlined by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, given at the University of Connecticut. He turned off his computer, preparing to leave when he saw Ryan standing in the doorway.

Sean waved him in. “What’s up?”

“I have the report I promised on Jason Kenner last week.”

“Including what happened to the car and the credit card statements?”

“Yes. And some information from recent bank records,” Ryan said, handing Sean a hard copy.

“Have a seat.”

“Remember the name on the account, Marsha Philips?”

Sean nodded.

“She’s an old girlfriend who lives in Albany, New York, about two hours away. I was able to speak with her.”

“What did she say?”

“They lived together, and she was crushed he’s missing. It sounded like Marsha cared very deeply about him, so I asked what the nature of their relationship was today. She said they’re just friends. They broke up because he has a gambling problem.”

“Is that why he has so many credit cards?”

“Yeah. He uses cash advances to get money. Marsha said he’s been doing that for years. He wanted her to open a card in her name and take out an advance for him. She refused and gave him an ultimatum. Get help for his addiction, or it’s over. He never got help.”

“Does she know there’s a credit card statement in her name going to his house?”

“She does. She knows he opened a card in her name illegally, but she doesn’t want to press charges. Two months ago, Jason told her that he owed someone money and they’re after him. He asked Marsha if she could loan him two thousand dollars, but she refused. He opened the card without her permission but then called her to confess what he’d done and closed the account. She feels terrible for him. She said he’s a good man; he just has a problem.”

“That’s very forgiving considering what he did,” Sean said.

“Yup, but the story checks out. I followed up with the credit card carrier, and they did receive a request to close the account. And there’s more. Marsha said when they first started dating Jason owed someone $11,000 for betting on football games. He was so scared they would come after him, he told her if he didn’t get the money he’d have to leave town. She gave him a small loan, and he took a second job to cover the rest. Marsha said he would tell her he stopped gambling, but she knows he never did. He was always short of money the entire time they were together.”

“I’m a little surprised none of his friends said anything. There’s nothing in the file about it,” Sean said, wondering if Vanessa knew about Jason’s addiction.

“From the way Marsha spoke—he was good at hiding it. He held a steady job, and for the most part they had a good relationship.”

“I can see that. Jason’s very popular around here. He was working with kids coaching the winning basketball team. Looks like a model citizen. Any idea who he owes money to?”

“Not yet, but his landlady said he hasn’t paid his rent in two months. I did some checking, and he’s behind on all his other bills. There are some illegal gambling operations in neighboring towns that local law enforcement is building cases against. I could contact them.”

“Yes. Do that.”

He nodded. “Right away.”

“Oh, did you find out what happened to his car?” Sean asked, standing and gathering his things.

“As a matter of fact, yes.” Ryan followed Sean to the door. “The car was repossessed for non-payment. He hadn’t paid in almost six months. It was pure coincidence it was taken away now.”

“See what else you can find and keep me updated.”

Ryan returned to his office, and Sean left the station. On the way to his police car, he detoured into the building next door which housed the Animal Control Department.

After exchanging greetings with Officer Benjamin Gibson, the head of Animal Control, Sean asked if anyone claimed the dog he found.

“No such luck. No one’s called, and the poor creature’s been staying at the animal hospital since you had him brought in,” Ben said.

“How come?”

“He tested positive for Lyme disease. He’ll be okay, but they wanted to start him on antibiotics so they kept him there.”

Sean rubbed his chin. The dog’s been through enough. “If no one calls you today, I’m going to pick him up and take him home.”

“Good for you,” Ben said with a smile. “Hey. Since you’re here, a video just came in of a mutilated animal in Quarry Head Park. Want to take a look?”

“Someone filmed it?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t have much time. Is it long?”

“Not at all. Just shy of two minutes.”

“Sure. Let me see.”

“I just want you to be prepared. It’s pretty gross.”

“I appreciate the warning,” Sean said, even more interested.

Ben pulled the file up on the computer and turned the screen toward Sean.

The camera caught every angle of the gruesome sight. Sean flinched. What the hell?

The body in the footage looked like a deer. The features on its face were squashed; the eyes no longer clearly defined. The neck of the animal was bent in the middle—the head lay flat on the ground twisted to one side. Two stumps, which were once the deer’s front legs, jutted out just past its ears. Its back legs were crushed and wedged into position under its belly. Even more bizarre, the lifeless mass had a gelatinous looking coating over its entire body.

“Do we know what happened to it?”

“No. The footage was taken by a fifteen-year-old boy on his cellphone. He was riding his bike with a friend in Quarry Head Park. They went off the path, and his friend fell from the bike when he hit this dead animal.”

“Who gave you the video?”

“His mother sent it in by email. She wanted to make sure someone cleaned it up before anyone else got hurt. She said her son’s friend developed an itchy rash from the slime covering the animal’s body.”

Sean pointed to a marker on a tree in the video. “This is next to the yellow path,” he said. “Hold off on removing the animal for just a few hours. I have to go to a seminar at the University of Connecticut, but when I come back I want to take a look at it myself.”

“Sure. Hey, when you get to the school you should talk to Dr. Greg Mitchell. You can show him the video.”

“Why? Who is he?”

“Greg’s a professor at the University and the head of the Biology Department. He knows a lot about animals and specializes in herpetology.”

“Herpetology? The study of reptiles?” Sean asked.

“That’s right. Actually it’s reptiles and amphibians, so he covers both land and water. Greg lives right here in town. Last year he helped us relocate a Bog Turtle found in someone’s yard. They’re endangered, you know.”

“But even I can see this looks like a deer.”

“I know, but he’s very knowledgeable. He might be able to help. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, and you’ll be there anyway.”

“Okay, can you send me the video?”

“Not a problem. I’ll email it to you now.”

Sean thanked Ben and left for the University. Once in his cruiser he scrunched his nose, mulling over the grisly video. Natural causes or foul play?

 

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SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW by PATTY BLOUNT BOOK REVIEW @PattyBlount

Someone I Used to Know

by Patty Blount

Release Date: August 7, 2018

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

 

 

“Blount has written a heartrending but much-needed view on this subject. This book provides a nuanced look at the toxicity of rape culture and the long-lasting and harming aftermath of sexual assault.”— School Library Journal

 

 

From the award-winning author of Some Boys comes an unflinching examination of rape culture that delves into a family torn apart by sexual assault.

It’s been two years since the night that changed Ashley’s life. Two years since she was raped by her brother’s teammate. And a year since she sat in a court and watched as he was given a slap on the wrist sentence. But the years have done nothing to stop the pain.

It’s been two years of hell for Derek. His family is totally messed up and he and his sister are barely speaking. He knows he handled it all wrong. Now at college, he has to come to terms with what happened, and the rape culture that he was inadvertently a part of that destroyed his sister’s life.

When it all comes to head at Thanksgiving, Derek and Ashley have to decide if their relationship is able to be saved. And if their family can ever be whole again.

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Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW by PATTY BLOUNT for the purpose of an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Many thanks to SOURCEBOOKS FIRE and NETGALLEY for the advance copy.

Ms. Blount tackles the brutal subject of rape by a student athlete head on in this riveting novel which steers us through Ashley’s life leading up to her heart-wrenching rape, and the aftermath of her attack.

Ms. Blount illustrates how a rape rips through a family, a school, and a community in SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW. The effects are felt far beyond the moments of the actual rape and reach deep in to the hearts and souls of Ashely’s family and friends and are felt keenly for several years following the attack.

Ms. Blount shows a very realistic view of the mental anguish a rape victim lives with, often for many years following the actual rape, and how justice from the victim’s view, rarely is just.

I very much enjoy Ms. Blount’s style of writing and her character development was exceptional! This is the first novel of Ms. Blount’s I’ve read, but it won’t be my last!

I wish this book could become required reading for all junior and high school teachers and school staff, as well as incoming freshman boys and girls! I believe it would be a true eye opener for all of them!

I highly recommend SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW by PATTY BLOUNT and give it five steaming hot cups of coffee!

©JUNE 6, 2018

 

 

Powered by way too much chocolate, award-winning author Patty Blount loves to write and has written everything from technical manuals to poetry. A 2015 CLMP Firecracker Award winner as well as Rita finalist, Patty writes issue-driven novels for teens and is currently working on a romantic thriller. Her editor claims she writes her best work when she’s mad, so if you happen to upset Patty and don’t have any chocolate on hand to throw at her, prepare to be a subject of an upcoming novel. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that sadly doesn’t have anywhere near enough bookshelves…or chocolate.

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2 Copies of Someone I Used to Know

Runs August 7th -31st

(US & Canada only)

 

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1

Ashley

Your Honor, thank you for letting me address this court. The first thing I want to say is that I couldn’t wait to start high school. I liked the defendant. I really liked him. And I thought he liked me back. But now I know he never saw me as a person. I was nothing more than an opportunity for him. So now I can’t wait until I’m done with high school.

—Ashley E. Lawrence, victim impact statement

Now

Bellford, Ohio

The mirror is my enemy.

So is the closet.

There’s literally nothing to wear. Clothes litter my room. Several pairs of jeans are balled up on my bed because they hug my butt too tightly. T-shirts lie in piles on the floor because they’re too clingy. Shorts and skirts? No. They reveal too much leg. I throw them over my shoulder. Dr. Joyce, my therapist, claims it’s normal to have trouble getting dressed after what happened.

I always tell her I don’t care what’s normal after what happened; I just want normal—without qualifiers. I want to open my closet, pull on any old outfit, and not obsess about people thinking I’m asking for it.

“Ashley?”

I glance up and find Mom in my doorway, looking me over. I’m wearing a robe even though it’s about ninety degrees outside.

“You okay?”

“Fine,” I lie and dive back into my closet, mopping sweat from the back of my neck. We’d agreed that I’d go to school on my own today. It’s time.

“Ashley, look at me.”

I pull my head out of my closet and meet her eyes.

“Honey, I know you’re upset. We all are, but I promise you, it’s going to be okay.”

At those words, I clench my jaw and shoot up a hand. Then I just turn away because, honestly, I don’t know which part pisses me off more…the colossal understatement implied by a wimpy word like upset or the addition of the pronoun we, suggesting everybody else in this family knows exactly how I feel when they don’t have the slightest clue.

She sighs but nods and then steps over to the closet, rehanging the discarded clothes I dumped on my bed. “We haven’t looked west yet. California is truly beautiful. You know I’ve never been there?”

I roll my eyes. We haven’t looked anywhere. All we’ve done is talk about it, so I say the same thing I always say when this comes up. “Mom, I don’t want to move away.”

“But it could be a fresh new start for all of us, Ashley. No one would even have to know you were—”

“Mom.” I cut her off, forcefully this time. “I really have to get dressed.”

Her blue eyes, the eyes both of my brothers inherited, fill with the look that’s become way too common over the last two years. It’s disappointment. Is it directed at me or what happened to me? I don’t know anymore, and I don’t think it even matters. All I know is it’s so acute, I can’t bear to see it and have to look away. Once again, I return my attention to the closet to find something to wear.

“Okay. Have a great first day. Call if…if you need me.” She turns and heads downstairs.

I don’t answer because great days are yet another myth I’ve discovered in a long series of them, starting with the concept of justice. I roll my eyes. California. Like it would be no problem to just shut down Dad’s auto repair shop and move a family of five across the country where there are no grandparents, no aunts, no uncles or cousins.

As the front door closes and the engine starts in the driveway, my phone buzzes. It hardly ever does that anymore. I glance at the display, annoyed when some stupid tiny seed of hope blooms because there’s a text message from Derek.

Derek: Good luck today.

Rage ignites inside me like a match held to dry leaves. Cursing, I kick over my hamper, swipe every last book and paper off my desk, and come perilously close to hurling my cell phone at the wall. Good luck. Could he be this clueless?

As this is my brother, yes. He could be and often is this clueless…and worse.

Ashley: Yeah. Sure. Luck. That’ll help.

The phone buzzes again.

Derek: I’m sorry. I swear I am.

Sorry? I almost laugh. Derek doesn’t do apologies.

“Derek, tell Ashley you’re sorry,” Mom would order him after he’d made me cry for some thing or another.

And he’d say, “Sorry, Ash.” Mom would walk away or turn her back, and he’d stick out his tongue or roll his eyes and smile that Derek smile, and I’d know. I’d know he wasn’t really sorry. He was only saying it to make Mom happy. Apologies happen when you own up to having been wrong, and Derek has never been wrong in his life.

I stare at the words I’d have given anything to hear my brother say two years ago, but they’re too little, too late, and knowing Derek as I do, false.

I toss the phone to my bed and go back to pawing through every drawer in my dresser and every hanger in my closet for something to wear and finally spy something. It’s this old maxi dress Mom bought for me years ago. The tags are still on it. I grab it and hold it up. It probably doesn’t fit. I think I was twelve or thirteen when she bought it.

There’s a little pang in my chest. Twelve or thirteen.

Before everything changed.

I swallow hard, trying to hold on to the pain because if it gets loose—

Deep breath. Hold it in. Okay. Dress. Right.

I hold the dress up to my body, considering it. Yeah, it might work. I slip it on, smooth it out. It’s actually a bit big. And ugly. Shades of dull beige and brown in a paisley print that hangs all the way to my ankles. I grab a sweater to hide my shoulders revealed by this outfit and smooth down a cowlick in my hair, which has finally reached shoulder length again.

Above the shelf on my wall, there’s a mirror Mom bought so I could get ready for the new school year. I’d smashed the old mirror in another fit of rage not long after I’d hacked off my long hair. Yeah, this outfit does work. It hides pretty much everything.

I grab my phone and try to visualize the day ahead. Tara, my best friend, will meet me at school. She always has my back. The rest of the school is a different story.

Derek’s words rattle around inside my head like some kind of curse. Good luck, Ash Tray. You’ll need it.

Deep breaths. Breathe in, hold for one…two…three…four, breathe out. In, hold, out. In, hold, out. I hate doing these breathing exercises because I feel like a total loser. I mean, who has to concentrate on breathing?

Traumatized people like me, that’s who.

Two years. It’s been two years. I’m fine. I’m absolutely fine. I roll my eyes because that’s another thing I must do. Tell myself complete and total lies. It’s supposed to help me believe them, turning them into what my therapist claims are self-fulfilling prophecies. I get it. The power of positive thinking and all that crap. But the truth is, I’m still waiting to feel fulfilled, yet I keep doing the same stupid breathing exercise, and I keep repeating the same stupid lies until finally my heart stops trying to beat out of my chest.

This is it—the first day of school. Junior year. I can do this. I can. I will do this.

I do something else…something my therapist never told me about. I visualize. I imagine building a dam…a little beaver dam of logs and twigs and dried mud to keep all of the triggers and memories and rage and…pain from leaking out into my life. I spend some time shoring up my dam, and with one last deep breath, I head downstairs, pretending the dread that’s still climbing up my rib cage is anticipation for the first day of my junior year.

I see two coffee cups in the sink and dishes from my parents’ breakfast. It’s normal and typical, and it gives me something to hang on to while I wrestle all that dread back behind the dam.

I glance at the clock to make sure I have time and discover it’s after 8:00 a.m.

No, that can’t be right. I woke up extra early.

My shoulders sag while I stare at the clock blinking on the microwave over the stove and then pull the phone from my pocket. It shows the same time. How? How is this possible? They’re wrong. They’re both wrong. They have to be. I run to the family room, but the cable box is blinking the same time.

I’ve not only missed the bus, but I’ve missed the start of first period.

I shoulder my bag and start walking.

I thought I was past this. I thought the days when I’d lost huge chunks of time doing nothing except breathing were behind me.

***

School is terminally irritating.

I missed first period entirely, and by the time the old bat in the front office gives me my pass, I’ve missed half of second, too.

“Ashley. Hey,” Tara whispers when I finally take my seat in lit class, her face split in a huge smile. “What took you so long?” And then she looks at my outfit. “What are you wearing?”

I shake my head. “Don’t even.”

She puts up both hands in apology—or maybe surrender—and turns back to her notebook. Mrs. Kaplan is reading us the class rules and information about homework, exams, and class participation. I know this drill so I zone out. I take a look around the class, see who’s here, who’s not, and spot Sebastian Valenti over by the window at the same second he jerks his eyes away from me.

They’re really amazing eyes. Hazel. I used to think hazel was a color but found out it actually means eyes that change colors. Sebastian’s eyes look green sometimes, and other times, they look brown, and I’ve even seen them look practically yellow. Sebastian’s a good guy. The best. He saved me when my stupid brother didn’t. Wouldn’t. He keeps asking how I’m doing, and I keep saying fine. And that’s about as deep as our conversations ever get, so I just don’t bother anymore. I haven’t talked to him all summer. But he’s still a really good guy.

“May I have your attention please?”

The PA system cracks into life, and Mrs. Kaplan takes a seat at her desk while the principal welcomes us back to the new school year and tells us about some after-school clubs. And then, right after an announcement about several new teachers, Principal McCloskey ruins what’s left of my life.

“We’d like to welcome our new calculus teacher, Mr. Davidson, to Bellford High. In addition to teaching calculus, Mr. Davidson has agreed to help us start a new and improved football program. Tryouts for this year’s Bengals team will be held after school.”

A cheer goes up around the classroom.

I sit in my seat, frozen. I’m fine. I’m absolutely fine. I lie to myself, but my brain knows better, and I can feel that old pressure spinning inside my chest.

A hand squeezes mine, and I jolt like I’ve been struck by lightning. I look up into the concerned eyes of Tara. That’s when I discover everybody in the entire class has swiveled around to see how I’m taking this news. Most people look concerned, like Tara. But others are triumphant, like Andre, sitting at the front of the classroom, and Bruce, over by the windows next to Sebastian. I can’t stand it, can’t deal with it. Suddenly, I’m on my feet, running for the door. “Ashley! Ashley, come back here!” Mrs. Kaplan shouts after me.

I dart across the hall into the girls’ bathroom and lock myself into a stall. I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine.

I repeat the words over and over so fast, they morph into percussion that syncs to the pounding of my heart. It’s bad enough seeing everybody stare at me. Everybody blames me for canceling football.

Derek blames me.

My brother blames me for what happened two years ago. I can never forget that…or forgive it.

It doesn’t matter how many lies I tell myself or how deep I bury those memories, how strong the dam is. Those memories—the pain they cause—they keep finding ways to break out, and I’m just not strong enough to hold them back.

I don’t think I ever will be.

Two Years Ago

Bellford, Ohio

It’s raining, but I don’t care. I love the way the air smells when it rains. Earthy. Clean and fresh and—so alive. I’m totally psyched to start high school and don’t care if there’s a hurricane. Armed with my bright pink umbrella, I’m ready to head to the bus stop, but Mom says Derek could have the car if he drives both of us to school. I squeal and clap. I love riding shotgun with Derek…when he lets me, that is.

Derek’s been treating me like crap for ages. We’re only a year and a half apart, so we shared a stroller, took baths together, went to gymnastics and soccer together. We were on different teams, though. That always bugged me. I wanted to play on his team. We’re a unit, a combo special, a team. Justin, our brother, is a lot older. He has his own separate life. But Derek and I are best friends. Nobody knows it but me, but Derek wants to make video games when we grow up. He has a ton of cool ideas, too.

At least, he used to. He never talks about that kind of stuff with me anymore. Now he’s all about football and girls and driving and avoids me as much as he can. I annoy him. I don’t see how that’s even possible. I try to do all the things he always liked doing with me like movie nights and epic game battles. Now he just rolls his eyes and says I should get a life.

But this is my first day of high school. So that means we can hang out again. I’m older and not so annoying. Derek doesn’t argue with Mom about driving me to school, so I kind of assume that means he’s finally outgrown his problems with me. Mom said he would…eventually. I also kind of assume that driving us to school also means driving us home. He has other ideas.

“Take the bus home. I’m hanging with my friends later.”

“Oh,” I say, smile fading. “Yeah. Sure.”

My first day of high school is awesome in every possible way. I have lunch with Donna Jennings, a girl I know from middle school, who got her hair cut in this really cool undershaved style and got a boyfriend over the summer. She showed everybody the gold heart necklace he’d given her, and my heart sighed. It had stopped raining by the afternoon, so I take my time heading to the parking lot to ride home with Derek, but the space where he’d parked Mom’s car is empty.

Darn. I was supposed to take the bus home. I totally forgot.

“You look lost.” A boy with messy hair and blue eyes says. He is seriously cute and standing with three other boys against a blue car.

“Must be a freshman,” another says.

“Just looking for my brother.”

“Who is he?”

“Um. Derek Lawrence.”

They exchange glances and laugh. “Oh, you’re Ash Tray. Sorry, you just missed him.”

“Cut it out,” the cute one says. “I’m Vic. Victor Patton.” He smiles at me. Dimples. Wow.

“Hey, that’s what Derek calls her.” The boy laughs.

Oh my God. Derek told them that? My face bursts into flames, and I turn away.

“Leave her alone.” Vic straightens up and walks toward me. He’s tall, taller than Derek. “Derek left. He might be back. Why don’t you call him?”

Yeah. Good idea. I pull out my phone and hit his name. It rings, but he never picks up. Next, I try texting him. Meanwhile, the boys pile into the blue car and take off, splashing water all over me.

I brush muddy splotches from my clothes, choking back tears, and call Mom’s cell phone, but it goes straight to voicemail. I try calling Dad too. Same thing.

What am I supposed to do? I head back to the main entrance, sink down on one of the steps, and drop my chin into my hands. I sit there, quietly crying, until the steel doors burst open and a bunch of laughing girls jog past me. Quickly, I fluff my waist-long hair in front of my face to hide the tears. All but one of the five girls wear warm-up suits bearing the word Fusion in bright red letters down one leg.

One crouches down to get a look at me. “Hey. You okay?”

I nod vigorously. “Yeah. Fine.”

“You’re crying. Can I help?” She takes a step closer, and I scrub at my face with the back of my hand, like that has even a remote chance at erasing my complete embarrassment.

“Not unless you have a magic potion that works on stupid brothers,” I blurt. Oh my God! I slap a hand over my mouth. I need to die. Right now. Where’s a lightning bolt when you need one?

“Oh, a stupid brother. I have one of those.” She smiles. She’s so pretty. Long, dark, and lean, she looks like one of the models in my Teen Vogue magazines.

I’m suddenly interested in hearing her story. “Older or younger?”

“Younger. Takes annoying to whole new levels, like it’s some kind of vow he took. Do you know he actually put my retainer in the toilet? My mother nearly burst a blood vessel after that.” She giggles. “Oh! I’m Candace Ladd.”

“Hey.” This time, my smile is bigger. “Ashley. Ashley Lawrence.”

“You must be a freshman.”

I wince, face burning all over again. “Does it show?”

She laughs, revealing perfectly straight, bright white teeth that somehow remained impervious to her little brother ruining her retainer. “Nah. I’ve just never seen you before, and I know pretty much everybody. I’m a junior.” She studies me, her head angled to one side. “Lawrence, huh?” And then her dark eyes open wide. “Oh my God. Is that stupid brother you mentioned Derek Lawrence?”

“You know him?”

She nods. “Yeah, we’re in the same homeroom. Oh, wow. Brittany is gonna hate hearing he’s a jerk. She’s really into him.” Candace points to the field on the other side of the small parking lot. The pretty blond with the great smile is doing ballet pliés.

I stare and swallow hard. Brittany is everything I’m not. Beautiful. Skinny. She even looks like Derek with perfect blond hair and blue eyes. They could be Ken and Barbie. I have dark hair and dark eyes. “Maybe he’ll be nicer to her.”

“Come on.” Candace Ladd grabs my hand, tugging me off the step where I’d been sitting, crying. “You know what’s great for getting over the stupid stuff brothers do?”

I have no idea, but I follow her anyway, making my way across the lot to the field that’s empty except for these girls.

“Dancing.”

I plant my feet in the grass at that. I love dancing. I’d taken dance classes for years when I was little. But I stopped about two years ago and now have a roll of fat bulging from the top of my jeans. I’d stick out like one of those old Sesame Street games—one of these things is so not like the others.

“Everybody, this is Ashley Lawrence. She’s Derek’s sister.”

The really pretty blond snaps her head up at that. Her smooth hair is pulled back in a ponytail, and her blue eyes are so blue, I wonder if she wears contacts. “I’m Brittany,” she says with a smile. “And this is Tara, Marlena, and Deanne.”

“Hi,” I manage to squeak out while the girls each smile and greet me.

Oh God, they’re all so beautiful. Next to them, I feel like a freak.

I am a freak.

“Ashley’s gonna dance with us today. She’s got some brother crap to work out of her system,” Candace explains to her friends, and Tara’s face instantly breaks into an expression of total understanding.

“Oh, honey. I got two of them. Is Derek what caused all this?” She waves a hand with pink-striped fingernails at my new back-to-school outfit, currently splattered in mud thanks to the boys in the blue car.

“Um, indirectly,” I admit.

“Jerk.”

“What an asshole!”

One by one, they all give their opinion of Derek while adjusting hairstyles, retying shoes, and stretching leg muscles. I’m entranced.

“You a freshman?” Marlena asks, and my face heats up again.

I nod, expecting her to make a disgusted face, but she just says, “I’m a sophomore. Candace and Brittany are juniors. And Tara’s a freshman, like you.”

I perk up at this news. Finally, somebody my own age.

Brittany pulls a small wireless speaker from her backpack, turns it on, and sets it on a bench at the edge of the athletic field. “It’s nice having the field to ourselves for once.”

“Hey, let’s teach her the routine,” Deanne suggests. “Then she can try out for Ms. Pasmore.”

Wait, what? Try out?

Holy crap, I can’t. But the rest of the girls agree. Candace crosses her arms and studies me. “Can you do basic moves like pirouettes and leaps?”

I shake my head. “I haven’t done those in a long time.”

“But you know how?” Candace prods. I can only shrug. “Oh, come on. Just try.” She urges me with a smile.

“Come on, Ashley. It would be great if we both make it on to the team,” Tara adds.

Tara’s words shoot straight into my heart and sort of plant roots. Suddenly, I want this. I want to dance and be on the team and have friends who understand all of my Derek problems.

“It’s okay, Ashley. You can do this,” Tara says, and that spot inside my heart warms up again.

I swallow hard, rub my damp palms down my legs, and get into fourth position…or is it fifth? I perform a slow, shaky pirouette. The girls applaud, and my face feels hot.

“That’s seriously not bad for someone who hasn’t danced in a couple of years.” Candace lifts her palm for a high five that I happily give her.

Derek would freak out if I do this.

So I should totally do it.

“That’s really great, Ashley. Okay, now strut!” She calls out, and the girls line up with me, everybody moving left, pumping their arms. I follow along, astounded by my efforts. “Other way. That’s good, Ashley! Now make it bigger.”

We strut back and march in place, and then Brittany takes over, leading us in a series of big, bold movements—kicks, leaps, shoulder shimmies, and pirouettes. They were right. This is fun. We dance for over an hour. The girls teach me their entire routine, and I do it all and have no time to be mad about Derek.

When we finally stop, Brittany angles her head, studying me.

“You know, you should cut some of that. It’s way too long for you.” She waves a hand over my hair.

My hair reaches my waist. “I, um, don’t look good with short hair. I mean, no offense,” I quickly say to Tara, whose jaw-length bob looks totally awesome.

“No, not that short,” Brittany says. “Maybe about here.” She indicates the middle of my back with her hand. “Take some of it off. I think it’ll have more volume.”

“Yeah,” Candace agrees. “When you do those snap turns, you won’t whip us in the face.”

Deanne hands me some forms. “Here. After you try out, you’ll need to order these.”

I stare down the sheet of papers, see the various items, each bearing the team name, Fusion.

“What do you say, Ashley? Are you in?” Candace grins, those bright white teeth gleaming at me.

I scan the group of them, all of them perfect and pretty and good at dancing. “Aren’t you worried I’ll make you look bad? I don’t…look like you all.”

“Oh, honey,” Tara says, putting an arm around me. “All you need is some practice to build up your confidence.” She looks around the group for verification.

“Hell, yeah. In freshman year, I had braces on my teeth, a terrible haircut, and I was six inches shorter than I am now. I could barely talk to anyone,” Brittany admits. “But you have something I didn’t have in freshman year.”

I did? “What’s that?”

“Boobs.” The other girls crack up as my face bursts into flames. “The boys won’t see anything else. Trust me.”

Brittany and Candace hop into a car and are gone after a honk and a wave. Deanne and Marlena stand with me until a minivan pulls up, and then it’s just me and Tara. We start walking toward the school’s main exit.

“So how are you getting home?” I ask her, and she shrugs.

“Walk. I live pretty much next door.” She points down the road.

“Handy.”

“Well, see you tomorrow. It was nice meeting you.”

“You too,” I call back.

I start walking toward town, where my dad’s garage is, wishing I had a bottle of water with me. My legs are like noodles after all that dancing, and a two-mile walk does not appeal to me. Like a wish granted, a horn honks, and a shiny black Chevy slows down beside me.

“Hey, Derek’s sister! Need a ride?”

Oh. Em. Gee.

It’s him. The boy with the cute smile and the dimples.

My voice gets stuck in my throat, so I only nod.

“What’s your name? Your real name, I mean,” he asks through the open passenger side window, smiling and making my wobbly legs even weaker. He isn’t going to call me Ash Tray? Swoon.

“Um. Ashley.” My voice is all squeaky.

“I’m Vic.”

“Yeah, I remember.” Vic. What a cool name. The coolest name in the world. I want to name a baby Vic.

He laughs. “Good. So where are you heading?”

“Oh, um. To my dad’s garage. Over on Blaine.”

“Right, right. I know where it is. Hop in,” he invites with a jerk of his head. “I’ll give you a lift.”

It never occurs to me to say no. He has such a great smile. His hair is somewhere between blond and brown and so messy I itch to touch it and smooth it. He’s really tall but lean. And his eyes are so blue, they look like pools you never want to get out of. But it’s that smile, the one with the dimple at the corner, that makes me forget my name.

“So, Ashley. You’re what? A freshman?”

Is there a sign hanging over my head or something? Wincing, I nod. “It must show.”

“Just a little.” He looks over and winks. “I’m a senior.”

A senior is driving me home. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod.

“Did you join a club or something?”

I nod, and suddenly remember I am probably in urgent need of a shower or a can of deodorant or a wet wipe, and I try to shrivel up against the passenger door and hope he doesn’t get close enough to sniff me. “Yeah. The dance team.”

“Fusion? That’s awesome! The dance team performs at all the Bengals games. I’ll probably see you at practice. Our coach had a meeting today, otherwise we’d have been on the field.” He slows down for a traffic light.

Can he hear my heart pounding?

“How do you like Bellford High?”

“I like the girls on the dance team. And I like my science teacher.”

“Who did you get?”

“Mr. Wilder.”

“Oh, yeah, he’s great. I had him. He likes to give pop quizzes every week, so be ready.”

“Oh. Yeah. I will.”

“Nothing terrible. Just read ahead and you’ll be fine.”

Read ahead. I can do totally do that.

Vic puts on his turn signal and waits for a left turn. “So your brother’s kind of a jerk to you, huh?”

My heart sinks, and I slide a little lower in my seat.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll say something to him tomorrow.”

Suddenly, I’m grinning like a maniac. There’s probably a circle of cartoon birds and butterflies flying around the heart that just floated out of my body. Vic laughs and shakes his head as he pulls to the curb.

“We’re here. It was nice to meet you, Ashley Lawrence.” Vic hands me my bag as I pretty much fall out of the car on legs I can no longer feel. “See you tomorrow.”

“Yeah. Tomorrow.”

He honks and waves as he pulls away. I’m halfway in love.

“Ashley? Who was that?” Dad asks. He just stepped out of one of the garage bay doors.

“Hmm?”

“Ashley!”

I turn and see Mom in the entrance to Dad’s garage. “Mom! Can we get my hair cut? Please? I’m gonna try out for the dance team, and my hair is too long, and it’s in the way, and I met a senior named Vic, and I need to buy these if I make the team.” I finally pause for air, and Mom takes the Fusion gear order form I have clutched in my hand.

“A haircut. And a uniform. Well, okay. But a senior? No. I don’t know about that.”

“I’m with you on that,” Dad says, grabbing Mom in a hug and tickling her until she squeal

Lessons From a Difficult Person; How to Deal With People Like Us Spotlight Tour @MaineSam @iReadBookTours

Lessons From a Difficult Person;

How to Deal With People Like Us

By Sarah Elliston

 

 

Elliston is a highly successful workshop leader and trainer, who offers wisdom learned the hard way—by experience – as well as through rigorous study and certification in many areas of professional training that aid her in her work — Values Realization, Parent Effectiveness Training and Reality Therapy. She is a faculty member of the William Glasser Institute. Glasser is an internationally recognized psychiatrist and developer of Reality Therapy, a method of psychotherapy that teaches people they have a choice in how they choose to behave.

The methods Elliston offers in her book end the trauma and the drama, and minimize the possibility of confrontation. She gives YOU, the reader, the ability to take a strong, positive, confident—yet compassionate–stance with the “difficult person”—whether that is a relative, coworker, friend, one of your children or anyone else for that matter.

Elliston demonstrates how to:

  • Identify the ways to talk to a “difficult” person
  • Incorporate true incentives to help people change
  • Make real the consequences of the “difficult” person’s action
  • Increase success through acceptance and belonging
  • Avoid being triggered by the “difficult” person allowing you to neutralize those hot buttons and communicate without judgment

Elliston lays out a proven script for peacefully transforming the difficult person’s behavior and the environment. She gives you the tools for successfully initiating and engaging in a conversation with a difficult person that would lead to change.

 

Where did you get your information or ideas for your book?

The content of the book came from my life and my perspective of my life as well as the theories and concepts of Values Realization, Parent Effectiveness Training and Choice Theory and Reality Therapy.  I became familiar with the bodies of knowledge in my life, liked them and realized to really understand them I needed to teach them.

Parent Effectiveness Training taught me about boundaries with others, my child and other family members.  It taught me how to listen without judging and how to tell someone when I had a problem with their behavior. Values Realization is an enormous body of information based on the concept that there are seven criteria for a value and it is challenging to live in integrity with our deeds matching our creeds. We often allow old experiences and opinions to cloud our ability to live by our values.

Choice Theory and Reality Therapy teach that almost all behavior is chosen and we are driven by our genes to satisfy five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power and achievement, freedom and fun. Reality Therapy teaches us that the only person we can control is ourselves and that we have to give up trying to control others.  External control doesn’t not work; it destroys relationships.  Most problems have relationship issues at their core and it is a current relationship, not the past.

These ideas and my experience with creating activities to help explore them are what I used to develop my book.  I believe that difficult people have relationship issues and they are difficult because that is all they know how to do.  I didn’t know what I was doing until someone told me in a clear, nonjudgmental manner.  It led to enhanced relationships and my being less difficult.

Is this a Self Help book or a memoir of your life?

It’s a little bit of both.  I explore my childhood and growing up as an attempt to show how one difficult person evolved.  I describe how others managed to work with me, be married to me and not be able to tell me, in language I could understand, that I was difficult.  There is no blame here, just a collection of my experiences.

My purpose is to invite the reader to face the issue of the difficult person in their life and discover what could be done to have a conversation with that person.  Most of the book is a series of concepts and exercises in self-exploration for the reader.  In order to have a successful conversation with the difficult person the reader needs to reflect on his own judgments and attitudes and decide if it really is his business.  There are strategies for practicing the conversation as well as examples of some and reports of some of my coaching clients.

Finally, there is an outline of how a conversation might flow, with potential choice s of what the reader might say.

Doesn’t our world create difficult people?

Our culture encourages people to speak their minds and show initiative and in some cases, we grow up without learning appropriate boundaries or behavior.  In an effort to be inclusive and participatory some organizations and families become permissive and discontent is usually the result.  So here, perhaps, our world creates difficult people.

I think it is as much the above as it is a lack of willingness of individuals to take a step to talk to another person about what they are doing.  To make the connection and experience a negative reaction can be enough to have people turn away, at which point they may become angry or sarcastic and evolve into being difficult themselves.

A mental health professional once told me that the most important word for good mental health is RISK.  Brené Brown, research professor of sociology and author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of ImperfectionDaring Greatly, and Rising Strong, has spent the last fourteen years studying vulnerability, shame, and empathy.  Dr. Brown points out that one is not truly alive and engaged unless one is vulnerable.  Taking a risk to have a conversation with a difficult person is being vulnerable and will bring real results.

Reading this book and participating in the suggested exercises will be risky.  Closer relationships and clearer boundaries might result.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope your readers remember?

I hope readers will remember that the difficult person is not intentionally being difficult.  My experience shows that even people who have done some introspection and self-help activities don’t realize how others perceive the nor how they are impacting others.

I had been seeing therapists of one sort or another most of my life and attended various workshops to determine ways to find happiness in my life and still had behaviors that others found difficult.  It was as natural to me as breathing and I didn’t understand that others avoided me.  I wished for more friends but something was always wrong with them once I got them.

A difficult person does not know what they are doing that aggravates the reader and if the only idea the reader takes is to ask the person, “Do you know you do this and it annoys the heck out of me?” it will be a first step in healing the relationship.

What do you mean by “being in someone’s business?”

This is a concept I learned from Byron Katie, creator of a self-inquiry process called The Work and author of bestselling books: Loving What Is, and A Thousand Names for Joy.  Katie states that there are three kinds of business: my business which is everything about me, your business which is everything about you and God’s business which is everything else.

Being in someone’s business is what brings us pain.  Trying to be in God’s business also brings us pain.  How do we know we are out of our own business?  Probably because we are in pain.  I teach the concept in the book Lessons from a Difficult Person for the reader to self-evaluate his desire for someone to be different.  If he wants the other to be different because he thinks the other would be better or happier if he changed, the reader is in the other person’s business.

If the reader wants the other to consider changing because the behavior of the other has concrete impact on productivity in the workplace or comfort and happiness in a family situation, and it directly impacts the reader, then it is more possible that he is in his own business.  Clarity around this boundary is essential for developing a conversation with the difficult person that will invite a better relationship.

There is nothing more annoying than someone who says, “You know what your problem is?  You should just do this and you’d be so much happier.”  It’s possibly true but we don’t like being told what to do.  When someone asks, “Are you aware that you’re doing this and it is negatively impacting others?  Is that what you want?” we are more open to considering a change.  We are given information and asked if it’s what we want.  We can choose to change or not.  It is our business.

 

Sarah (Sam) Elliston is an expert in the art of Dealing with Difficult People. She is a top workshop leader and a member of the faculty of the William Glasser Institute, which espouses “Reality Therapy” to foster behavioral change.

But her instructional career began long before she even became aware that she was herself a “difficult person,” traits that began in Lincoln MA, where she grew up. For more than 30 years she has been teaching and training, first as a high school teacher in Ohio and Cincinnati—and then as an administrator in the not-for-profit sector.

Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

 

Prize: One winner will receive a copy of Lessons from a Difficult Person and a $10 Amazon gift card (open to USA & Canada).  Ends Feb 25, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

 

Jan 30 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway

Jan 30 – Books, Dreams, Life – book spotlight

Jan 31 – 100 Pages A Day – book spotlight / giveaway

Jan 31 – Reviews by Room With Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Jan 31 – Writers and Authors – book spotlight / author interview

Feb 1 –   Fantastic Feathers – book spotlight / guest post

Feb 1 –   Man of la Book – A Bookish Blog – book spotlight / guest post

Feb 2 –   #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 3 –   Laura’s Interests – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 3 –   A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 6 –   Outset – Rakhi Jayashankar’s Blog – book spotlight

Feb 6 –   Books for Books – book spotlight

Feb 7 –   Sylv all about books – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 8 –   Bound 2 Escape – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 9 –  JBronder Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview

Feb 9 –   Deal Sharing Aunt – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 10 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Feb 10 – Rainy Day Reviews – book spotlight / author interview

Feb 13 – Reading Authors – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 14 – Everyday Gyaan – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 15 – Perfect Chaos – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 16 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 16 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Feb 17 – Health Is Our Key – book spotlight

Feb 17 – Seaside Book Nook – book spotlight / giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silence Interrupted Spotlight @authorsania @iReadBookTours

Silence Interrupted

by Sania Shaikh

silence-interrupted

Category:  YA Fiction,  205 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Lanier Press
Release date:  November 14, 2016
Tour dates:  Dec 5 to 23, 2016
Content Rating:   PG + M
About the Book
Two months before Troye Saavedra’s senior year of high school, his father’s drinking problem skyrockets. When Troye’s parents make an impulsive move to Georgia in order to “help” him finish high school on a positive note, he is forced to leave behind everything he knows. Things couldn’t get worse for Troye. That is, until he meets three enigmatic teenagers: Adelaide, an independent violinist with radical ideas; Zaidan, fiercely loyal and always funny; and Arabella, a girl who harbors secret struggles. Together, the four friends try to pick up the jagged pieces of their lives without getting hurt themselves. An insightful tale of perseverance, Silence Interrupted is a young adult novel about the beauty and peril of traversing the world as a teenager.

Buy the Book:  Amazon

About the Author
sania-shaikh
Sania Shaikh is a junior at Cambridge High School. Inspired to write from a young age, she worked on Silence Interrupted, her debut novel, starting in eighth grade.
Connect With the Author

Tour Schedule:

Dec 5 –   Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight

Dec 5 –    FLY HIGH! – book spotlight

Dec 5 –    Room With Books – book spotlight

Dec 6 –   Turning the Pages – book spotlight

Dec 6 –   Books, Dreams, Life – book spotlight

Dec 7 –   Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight

Dec 7 –   100 Pages A Day – book spotlight

Dec 8 –   A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight

Dec 8 –   Lukten av Trykksverte – book spotlight

Dec 9 –   Zerina Blossom’s Books – book spotlight

Dec 12Shoshi Reads – book spotlight

Dec 12Christy’s Cozy Corners – book spotlight

Dec 13Bound 2 Escape – book spotlight

Dec 13Reading Authors – book spotlight

Dec 14The Autistic Gamer – book spotlight

Dec 14The All Night Library – book spotlight

Dec 15Books for Books – book spotlight

Dec 15Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight

Dec 16Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight

Dec 16Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight

Dec 19Book Lover in Florida – book spotlight

Dec 19Heidi’s Wanderings – book spotlight

Dec 20E-News With Jessy  – book spotlight

Dec 20Outset – Rakhi Jayashankar’s Blog – book spotlight

Dec 21The Journey Back – book spotlight

Dec 21Bookworm for Kids – book spotlight

Dec 22StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight

Dec 23Svetlana’s Reads and Views – book spotlight

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Coming in Hot – On Her High Horse @cw1985 @GinaKincade @NaughtyNightsPr

‘Coming In Hot’

 Author Spotlight Tour!

Today’s Spotlight 

On Her High Horse

by

Lucy Felthouse!

 

Coming In Hot Paranormal & Contemporary Medical Romance Boxed Set: Paramedical meets paranormal: Shifters, Werewolves, Vampires, and More!

 

 

Paramedical meets paranormal in this steamy set filled with doctors, nurses, paramedics, shifters, werewolves, vampires, and more!

Get a dose of romance, STAT! 

Featuring NYT, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors, we’re Coming In Hot with paranormal to contemporary, and sizzling to seductive bedside manners by the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and more in this boxed set.

See It On Facebook!

http://bit.ly/CIHBox

 

 

Now Available for pre-order at #99cents for a limited time!

***BRAND NEW & EXCLUSIVE***

Don’t forget to add to your *want to read* list on Goodreads: https://goo.gl/kDTJ5L


Do first impressions always last?

When veterinarian Brett Coulson and stable owner Samantha Hanson-Bishop meet, it’s hate at first sight. He thinks she’s a snobby, stuck-up bitch who wouldn’t know nice if it bit her on the arse. She thinks he’s a blundering, inexperienced little boy who shouldn’t be within fifty miles of her prized horses. But it doesn’t matter much—they’ll never have to see each other again. Or will they?

When fate throws them into the same room together at a charity fundraiser, the resentment between them quickly resurfaces. But mixed in with that resentment is something they both tried to deny… attraction. Will the chemistry between them cancel out the animosity, or were their first impressions just too powerful to change?

 

 

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller) and Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller). Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 140 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes

Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter and Facebook

You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

 

Hello—thank you so much for stopping by!

I’m so excited to share a little bit about myself and my story in the Coming In Hot boxed set!

Tell us about your title featured in this set.

My story is called On Her High Horse, and is set in the Yorkshire Dales, in England. It’s an enemies-to-lovers story about a young vet and one of his clients.

Once I got going, it probably only took me a couple of weeks to write (I don’t write full time, so I have to squeeze my writing in around everything else I do to earn a living!).

The title was actually a complete nightmare to come up with! Sometimes titles come to me before I even write a story, and other times they pop up while I’m writing. This one eluded me for a long time. I was Googling horsey phrases and veterinary phrases for ages, until I finally came up with this—and it fits the story really well, I think. So it was worth waiting for!

Tell us something about yourself.

I’m from Derbyshire, in England, where I still live with my dog, Scamp. As I mentioned before, I don’t write full time—I actually do lots of little jobs which make up a full time job; writing, marketing, editing, PR, web design, formatting, etc… basically, I eat, sleep and breathe books in one way or another, so it’s pretty awesome. I love being my own boss. I love spending time out in the countryside with my other half and my dog, reading (of course), films, and travelling.

Tell us about your writing process.

It varies massively depending on what I’m writing. For novel length work, I do tend to have some kind of plan, or at the very least an outline, in place. But for short stories and novellas, I tend to just write and see where the characters take me. I write as and when I can, juggling it around everything else I do. The benefit of being my own boss is I can move projects around if I need to—as long as I meet all the deadlines, it’s all good! 😉

What is your favourite genre to read?

I don’t have one, really. I like reading different kinds of books—as long as there’s a gripping story, I’m happy.
What would you say is the one thing you are most passionate about?

The people I care about.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do? 

Read, relax, go walking in the countryside, watch movies, visit stately homes and ancient sites, travel.

If someone who hasn’t read any of your books and asked you to describe your story in this set (the elevator pitch!) what would you say? 

Hunky young vet and sexy older woman go from enemies to lovers with lots of drama in between!

Where can readers connect with you?

http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/
http://www.twitter.com/cw1985
http://www.facebook.com/lucyfelthousewriter
http://www.goodreads.com/cw1985
http://www.pinterest.com/cw1985
http://eepurl.com/gMQb9 (newsletter)

Thank you so much for stopping by!

I hope you’ll check out the Coming In Hot set. Please do check me out on social media and my website to find out more about me and my books.

 

There was a knock at the door. Brett looked up from where he was transferring hand-written notes onto the practice’s computer system—he hadn’t yet gotten comfortable with taking the iPad out on calls. He was paranoid he’d drop it in a cow pat, or worse. “Yes, come in!”

One of the veterinary surgery’s receptionists—an efficient blonde called Natasha—sidled in, a wry expression on her face. “Hi, Brett. I’m really sorry to bother you, but there’s a woman on the phone, and she’s being, um, rather rude.”

Frowning, Brett replied, “Who is it? And why is she being rude?”

Natasha blew out a breath and shrugged. “She won’t tell me what the issue is. Won’t even tell me what animal she has. She just keeps saying she’ll only speak to a ‘trained professional.’ I don’t know who it is, either, not really. All I know is her first name is—”

“Samantha?” Brett supplied, his shoulders slumping and eyebrows raising.

“Uh, yeah. How did you know? Oh God, I haven’t gone and insulted one of your friends or something, have I? I didn’t mean to, honestly. It’s just she’s being a bit difficult…”

“Natasha, don’t panic. She’s no friend of mine. I’ve never even met the woman. Besides, if she was one of my friends, I’d be giving her a bollocking for being rude to one my staff, wouldn’t I? Anyway, if it’s the Samantha I think it is, then she’s being very difficult, and you’re being overly polite. Andrew warned me about her.”

“He did?”

“Yeah. Bloody typical that she’d phone while he’s away. The man barely ever takes a holiday, and now he finally has, his most awkward client is on the blower. He damn well owes me one after this.”

“If she’s a regular client, how come I’ve never spoken to her before?”

Shrugging, Brett replied, “Dunno. Maybe she’s got Andrew’s mobile number, or something?”

Natasha gasped. “But he never gives out his mobile number to clients. He’s very strict about that—always asks us to take a message and if it’s urgent, pass it on to him directly.”

“Yeah…” Brett scratched his head. “He didn’t say much about her, beyond that she can be difficult. Honestly, I was a bit distracted when he mentioned it so I wasn’t paying a great deal of attention. I wish I’d asked more questions now, but I never actually thought I’d have the misfortune of having to deal with her.”

“You haven’t, yet.” Natasha raised her eyebrows and pointed with her chin towards the phone on his desk.

“Good point.” He gave a wan smile. “Suppose I’d better find out what she wants, hadn’t I? If she’s special enough to have Andrew’s precious mobile phone number, then I probably ought to keep her sweet.”

“Probably wise.” Natasha left the room, closing the door behind her, but not before Brett spotted the slight smile on her face. Relieved to pass on the bitchy customer to him, no doubt.

Taking a deep breath, he picked up the phone. “Hello, Brett Coulson speaking, how can I help?”

“Oh,” came the reply, “Brett. Ah yes, you’re the other vet, aren’t you? Jolly good. Know what you’re talking about, do you?” The woman’s accent was posh, southern. Like she’d been to a finishing school or something.

Gritting his teeth, Brett then pasted a smile on his face, hoping it would be apparent in his tone, despite the daggers he was actually staring at her through the handset. “Yes, I most certainly do.” Should fucking do, after five years of training and the same again working in the profession. I’m not on bloody work experience here.

“But you sound so young.”

Glad she couldn’t see him, Brett rolled his eyes. Her problem obviously wasn’t an emergency, the way she was waffling on, time-wasting. “I’m almost twenty-nine, Mrs…”

“It’s Ms, actually. Samantha Hanson-Bishop here. So you’re still a baby then, really.”

“Is there something I can help you with, Ms Hanson-Bishop? Only I’ve a call to go out on in a few minutes.” He couldn’t help the emphasis he’d put on the Ms. It could be construed as sarcastic, but it was still a damn sight more polite than anything he really wanted to say. Would she just get to the point already?


 

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Relentless Spotlight Tour @SourcebooksCasa

Relentless

The Hero Agenda, Book 2

by Tera Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs

Pubdate: June 6th, 2016

ISBN: 9781492638742

 image001

 

About the Book

Revenge is easy, but justice is worth fighting for…

Kenna is tired of being lied to—and hunted by the very allies she once trusted. Unearthing the dark secrets of the superhero world has not only endangered her life, now her boyfriend faces execution for crimes he didn’t commit and her mother is being held captive in a secret governmental prison.

Kenna is determined to stand up for what’s right and save those she loves from unspeakable fates. It’s time for the betrayal to end. It’s time for the real criminals to face justice.

But the truth is even more terrifying than Kenna could imagine. A conspiracy threatens the fate of heroes, villains, and all of humanity. If Kenna’s going to survive, she must draw on her deepest strength: her resilience. Because when Kenna’s pushed to the limit, she doesn’t break down. She fights back.

 

About the Authors

Tera Lynn Childs is the RITA-award-winning and bestselling author of teen fiction about a mythological high school, mermaid princesses, monster-hunting triplet descendants of Medusa, and dark fae princes.

Tracy Deebs is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and critically-acclaimed author who writes under many pseudonyms, including young adult novels about surfing mermaids and technological armaggeddon.Purchase Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1VLL9In

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Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1WcvsdI

Chapters: http://bit.ly/1VLMEWQ

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1YbxuI4

 

Quiz

 

Excerpt

“I got this,” Dante yells to me. “Work the plan, Kenna.”

I nod and leave him to deal with Rebel.

As much as I want to free my mom first—family instinct is begging me to save her—I don’t know what her power is, don’t know if she can help us. At least I know what Draven’s powers can do. And right now, we need all the help we can get.

Nitro is standing on top of the table, right above Rex’s seat, lobbing small, white fireballs in a never-ending stream. He has the entire stage basically surrounded, with most of the Collective cowering behind a wall of white-hot flame.

Riley has a couple of the others and two more guards tied to the track lighting in the ceiling and is going after a guard who is shooting potassium bicarbonate all over Nitro’s firewall.

So, in other words, all is going according to plan. Thank God.

Draven is struggling against his shackles, which are secured to a giant loop in the stage floor. I want so much to pull him close and physically assure myself that he’s fine, but there isn’t time for that.

Instead, I move behind him and find the latch on the powers-neutralizing helmet. An instant later, I yank it off and toss it across the room. It’s useless now, thanks to my circuit-destroying EMP.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Draven demands.

Does he really have to ask?

I flash him a more-confident-than-I-feel smile. “Saving your ass. As usual.”

He gives me the cocky half smile I’ve come to love, and that more than anything else makes me believe that things will turn out okay.

“Kenna!”

I turn at Riley’s shout, just in time to see Mr. Malone break through Nitro’s firewall. Right behind me.

I freeze. This is the first time I’ve been face-to-face with Mr. Malone since I found out all the terrible things he’s done.

Since I found out he tortures decent people for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom.

Since I found out the word hero was a big, fat lie and they aren’t the good guys after all.

Rage overtakes me and I lunge for him, forgetting the plan, forgetting everything but the need to make him hurt as he’s hurt so many of the people I care about. In a flash, Rex’s hands are around my throat. I’m completely immobilized, lifted to my toes and barely able to breathe.

Draven is enraged as he turns on Rex—his father—and shouts, “You’re not going to touch her!”

“Who’s going to stop me?” Rex sneers. “You?”

An instant later, he releases me and drops to his knees, howling in pain as Draven uses his biomanipulation to do God knows what to Mr. Malone.

I draw in gasping breaths, relieved at the oxygen now flooding my bloodstream.

“Never go near her again,” Draven snarls, ramping up his biomanipulation grip on his father.

I lay my hand on Draven’s arm. We aren’t here to kill Rex, and the last thing we need is anyone in this room learning that Draven has a second power.

His muscles relax beneath my palm, and so do mine. Just this brief contact with him is enough to center me even in the middle of all this chaos.

Rex collapses into a lump.

Draven snorts with disgust as he stands over his father’s prone body.

The faint thump-thump-thump of an approaching helicopter jolts me back into action. We have to move, now, before reinforcements show up and eliminate our escape plan.

When First They Practice to Deceive Spotlight @CarolynLaRoche @_BookMistress

When First They Practice to Deceive

By Carolyn LaRoche

The Secret Lives Series

 

Banner When First They Practice to Deceive

 

Genre: Mystery/intrigue/ romance

 

About the Book

All Jessy Wallace wants is a happy marriage, but her husband is a liar and in over his head…

Jessy has spent the last decade happily married to her husband, Sam. But when she finally lands a job at Dixie’s Place, a hole-in-the-wall diner, she learns not all is well in paradise. Officer Sam Wallace has been spending the majority of their marriage in the beds of other women. Fed up, Jessy kicks her husband to the curb.

The last thing she wants is another messy relationship…

Uncertain if her husband ever truly loved her, Jessy gets caught completely off guard by the intense attraction she feels for Trey Smith, the night cook at Dixie’s Place. But she recognizes some telltale signs, and discovers he’s an undercover FBI agent. Jessy curses herself for falling for another lawman. To make matters worse, her soon-to-be ex-husband might be involved with Trey’s case.

After the death of his wife, FBI agent Trey Smith has spent the last four years married to his work…

But when Jessy starts waitressing at the diner where he is working undercover, he falls head over heels for her. Her ex-husband, however, is one of the top suspects in Trey’s case, and all Trey wants to do is protect her. He can’t lose this once in a lifetime chance at love.

Jessy is the soon-to-be ex-wife of a suspected criminal.

Trey Smith is an undercover FBI agent.

Can their love overcome the odds, or will it all come crashing down under the weight of lies and deception?

Purchase Link

Amazon

 

Cover - When First They Practice to Deceive

 

Excerpt

Dixie dumped her packages on the counter with a grunt. “Where the hell is that cook? Trey!

Trey’s appearance in the dining room was announced by the slam of the back door. His cheeks were red. Jessy caught sight of a cell phone sticking out of his shirt pocket. Trey rubbed his hands together.

“It’s mighty frosty out there tonight. Was just taking out the trash. You need something, Dix?”

“How many times have I told you not to call me that? It sounds too much like dicks.” She swatted at him but Trey sidestepped the hit.

“Aw lighten up, Dix, no one is going to think that of you.” Jessy experienced an annoying twinge of jealousy as Trey ran a long, lazy glance over Dixie’s body, making the woman flush a deep crimson which just made her look sexier. Jessy glanced down at her own, curveless frame and frowned. Life is so unfair.

“Just take this stuff into my office so I can sort it.”

“Sure thing. What’s in all these packages anyway?” Trey flipped open a box lid. “Christmas decorations?”

Dixie shrugged. “Well, yeah. It’s December.”

Trey rummaged around and pulled out an ornament of a tiny ballerina. “Shattered dreams going on the tree this year, Dixie?”

“Gimme that!” Dixie snatched the figure from Trey’s hand.

“Okay, so which one of us is the angel supposed to represent? Knowing all of you like I do, I have to go with the only logical conclusion. Me.”

“Yeah, ‘cause you’re a real angel all right.” Arnetta gave Trey a searing look, like the ones they write about in romance novels.

“You know nothing about my angel status.” Trey returned the angel to the box as he winked at Jessy. “That is a mystery that remains to be discovered. Oh wait, maybe this will help.”

“What is it?” Jessy, intrigued by the contents of the box as much as she was interested in just how much Arnetta knew about Trey’s status, stepped forward. Trey whipped around to face her, his hand on his head.

Only it wasn’t resting on his head. It held a little sprig of green vegetation in his hand and a grin on his face that rivaled that of the Chesire Cat. Mistletoe. Aw, crap.

“Oops, I’m stuck under some mistletoe. You know legend says I have to kiss the person nearest to me.” His eyes burned into Jessy’s skin as her cheeks heated to new proportions never before experienced.

“I don’t think that’s quite how it goes,” Arnetta said.

“Shut up! He’s about to have his meal!” Surrey whispered loudly behind Jessy.

“I think the legend says someone is supposed to kiss you.” Jessy looked into Trey’s eyes without blinking.

“Breaking legend is bad luck. Very, very bad luck.”

“I think you mean tradition. It’s bad luck to break tradition.”

“Legend. Tradition. Whatever. All I know is you are leaving me hanging and potentially exposing both of us to many years of pain and suffering.”

Jessy could feel three sets of female eyes on her, but she only cared about Trey’s. His eyes were so warm and so welcoming, and they were doing things to her insides so she couldn’t think straight.

“Well, I guess we wouldn’t want that.” She rose up slightly on tip toe, closing some of the height gap between them.

“No. I guess not.” He leaned forward, closing just a little more of the distance.

“It’s never a good idea to tempt the fates.” Jessy heard three breaths sucked in as one.

“Nope.Definitely not.”

Freezing air wrapped around them as the sounds of laughter and chatter suddenly filled the diner.

“Show’s over, folks. Time to make some money.” Dixie grabbed a few bags and headed to her office.

“Trey! Get the rest of those boxes for me then get in the kitchen!”

Trey stepped back and lowered the mistletoe, never breaking eye contact with Jessy. “Yes, ma’am! I’m right behind you.”

He blew her a little kiss then stepped over to the counter, scooped up the boxes, and was gone before Jessy could remember to breathe.

Surrey was the first to grab up a notepad and take a table, but not before she whispered in Jessy’s ear, “Just like I said. Looks at you like his next meal.”

 

Other Books in the Series

Undercover in Six Inch Stilettos

In The Shadow of the Shield

 

Meet the Author

Carolyn LaRoche Author picture

Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys, two finicky cats and one old dog. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.

Connect With the Author

Facebook

Blog

Goodreads ~~ Amazon

Twitter @CarolynLaRoche

 

 

Tangled Vines Spotlight Tour @NicoleFlockton @MTWPromotions

Tangled Vines
Author: Nicole Flockton

Genre: Adult, Rural Romance
Publsihed: December 21, 2015
Published by: Crimson Romance

Kyle Davis doesn’t do Christmas – not after he lost his whole family in the Boxing Day Tsunami. His idea of celebrating the festive season is going to his Margaret River property where his only companion is what’s residing in his liquor cabinet. Finding winemaker, Jordan Hastings in his shower is the last thing he expects or needs. No matter how attractive she is or how his body responds to her, a relationship is not on his Christmas wish list.

After being betrayed by the man she thought loved her Jordan has taken over her father’s caretaker position at a Margaret River property. Trying to get her career on track by bringing the neglected vines on the property back to life becomes her only focus. When property owner Kyle turns up and demands she leaves she stands her ground and convinces him to let her continue her work on the vines. Falling for a man who controls her employment is something she has no plans on doing again. Only resisting Kyle proves impossible when she learns of the tragedy he has suffered.

Time spent together has each of them evaluating their goals and finding that taking another risk on living and loving could be the best Christmas gift after all.



Tangled Vines Excerpt © Nicole Flockton 2015

Kyle’s stomach rumbled, reminding him it had been a long time since he’d eaten something. He glanced at the house and sighed. Maybe he could get her to leave after he’d sampled some of the food she’d prepared.
He followed the same path Jordan had taken moments ago. Of course, after succumbing to the call of his stomach and eating her food, getting her to leave would not be an easy task. He hated to admit it, he quite enjoyed sparring with her. It had been a long time since a woman had answered him back—if ever.
The smell of bacon, eggs and toast greeted him in the kitchen.
“Ah, so you decided to join me after all. Isn’t that nice.” Sarcasm dripped from her every word.
He shrugged a shoulder, as if she hadn’t won the battle of wills going on between them. “I’ve never been one to say no to food I haven’t had to cook. It tastes so much sweeter.”
“I bet your mother is really happy to hear you say that after she’s slaved over a meal for you.”
Images of his mum laughing as she cooked the Sunday family meal slashed him like barbs from razor wire. The way she would always drop a kiss on his head before she slapped his hand away from the morsel of food he attempted to steal.
One more chance. That’s all he wanted. One more chance to talk to her. To tell her he loved her. Tell her he was sorry.
“Are you okay?” Her fingers touched his back. Kyle shrugged them off. He didn’t want sympathy. Nor pity. He didn’t deserve it.
Words were impossible so he grunted in response and picked up a plate and helped himself to the food set out on the counter.
“No wonder you get on so well with my father. He struggles with conversation, too.”
Kyle ignored her and concentrated on eating. The repetitive motion of putting food in his mouth helped to keep away the thoughts of his last conversation with his mum and dad.
The aroma of rich, freshly brewed coffee teased his senses. He lifted his eyes from the diminishing pile of food and connected with sparkling green ones.
“You look like you need this,” she said quietly as she pushed the steaming mug toward him.
“Thanks.”
“”Just be careful you don’t spill it.” Jordan tilted her head toward his bare chest. “You wouldn’t want to burn yourself.”
Kyle rocked back on his chair. “You don’t need to worry about me. All you need to worry about is packing your bags and going back to your house instead of encroaching on mine.”
To his annoyance, Jordan sat down at the table opposite him. A part of him had to give the girl her due for standing up to him.
“Wish I could. But I can’t. I don’t have a house to go back to. I moved back here from South Australia just before Dad’s accident.”
His chair landed with a thump. “What do you mean you don’t have a house? Why aren’t you staying in Ted’s apartment?”
A harsh laugh erupted from her. For the first time since he’d encountered her naked body in the bathroom, bitterness and anger entered her eyes.
Jordan sighed, picked up her coffee cup and took a sip. “I’m sure your assistant Shey explained why I’m living here. She said it was okay when I spoke to her about it on Monday.”
He recalled Shey saying there was an issue down here, but he’d told her to deal with it—just so long as he wasn’t disturbed while he was in residence he didn’t care. Shey assured him she would handle it.
Now he wished he’d questioned her further. He had no plans to let Jordan know he didn’t know everything.
“Remind me.” His words came out as a command.
Jordan’s eyes narrowed at his tone. He waited for the tongue-lashing he was sure she wanted to lay on him.
“The hot water system in Dad’s apartment over the garage broke and flooded the whole place. The apartment now needs to be refurbished, starting with paint and carpet and new appliances. However, with Christmas almost upon us, the job is going to take twice as long to complete. This is why I’m staying here.”
Kyle bit back a groan. Why was this happening to him? All he wanted was to be alone at his house. Only now he had an unwanted visitor.
Hell, he’d pay for her to stay in a hotel. Anything. He’d do anything just to get her to leave.
“Look, Jordan, I need you out. I need my privacy. Go see John at the Margaret River Inn. He will hook you up with a room. Tell him to send me the bill.”
“I don’t need your money to go to a hotel, thank you very much. But bad news, buddy.” As Jordan lifted her cup of coffee again, Kyle knew he wasn’t going to like what she had to say. “It’s going to be near impossible to get any accommodation at any of the local hotels. It’s school holidays and it’s Christmas. Everything is going to be booked. Looks like you’re stuck with me.”
Kyle pushed his chair back. “This is unacceptable. This is my house, Jordan. You don’t have any right to be here. Regardless of the arrangement you’ve made with Shey.”
He held up his hand as she went to speak. “In the caretaker arrangement I have with your father, it’s extremely clear that every year your father is to vacate the property from the third Wednesday in December until the second Sunday in January. I appreciate you taking over your father’s position while he recuperates from his broken leg. But you are bound by the same contractual arrangement. Which means you shouldn’t be here.”
Kyle tamped down the annoyance building inside of him at the sight of the smile that broke out over Jordan’s face. He didn’t want to acknowledge the way his heart beat a little faster as the smile lit up her whole face. He needed to remain angry with her. It was the only way. He couldn’t afford any other emotion with her or anyone. He didn’t feel anymore. It was safer not to feel. Safer to go to work and come home to an empty house and no one waiting or relying on him.
“Well, I believe I may have a different employment contract than my father. There’s nothing in mine that mentions I have to vacate the caretaker’s apartment in December and January.”
The anger he fought seconds ago bubbled up inside of him. He grasped it with both hands.
“That’s easily fixed. You’re fired.”

Bestselling author Nicole Flockton writes sexy contemporary romances, seducing you one kiss at a time as you turn the pages. Nicole likes nothing better than taking characters and creating unique situations where they fight to find their true love.

On her first school report her teacher noted “”Nicole likes to tell her own stories””. It wasn’t until after the birth of her first child and after having fun on a romance community forum that she finally decided to take the plunge and write a book.

Apart from writing Nicole is busy looking after her very own hero – her wonderfully supportive husband, and two fabulous kids. She also enjoys watching sports and, of course, reading.

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Unpredictable Spotlight Tour @charms0814 @MTWPromotions @LimitlessBooks

Unpredictable
Series: Key West Series #1
Author: C.A. Harms

Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published: April 14, 2015
Publisher: Limitless Publishing LLC

Have you ever wished for a moment that you could pretend to live the life of someone else? Escape the harsh reality that your own is anything but perfect?

Quinn had always been forced to put her own needs last. With an absent father and a mother who drowns herself daily in a bottle of Rum, there was no other option.

Jett was the distraction she needed, even if it was just for one night. A void filler, a chance for a freeing moment to allow herself to feel something other than emptiness.

He wasn’t what she expected…

Gentle

Her life didn’t have room for a man like Jett.

Unpredictable

But now it was too late, there was no turning back.

Desire

Nothing would ever be the same.



Unpredictable Excerpt © C.A. Harms 2015

It’d been two days. Two days of unanswered calls, unanswered texts. Two days of driving by her house day and night, only to find it empty. I spoke with her boss at Spencer’s, and he too said she had taken some time off.
With each day my heart sank a little more with the thought that I had thrown away the best thing that had ever happened to me. This was on me, completely. I acted like the biggest dick when I should have just talked to her.
“Hey, numb nuts, you still pouting?” Kade shouted as he exited the French doors onto the back patio.
“I need to change my locks,” I grumbled. Resting my head back against the chair, I closed my eyes, attempting to block him out.
“Don’t blame me for your massive amount of shit. I’m just here for the pool—oh, and the free beer.” He chuckled as he pulled his shirt up and over his head, then took off and jumped, cannonballing into the pool. “Whew,” he yelled out just before hitting the water. The cool splash flowed backward, drenching the entire patio.
All I could do was shake my head at the ass. He was doing everything possible to pull me from my slump. I picked up my phone and checked once again for any response only to come up empty. “Give the girl some time. I know it’s driving you crazy, not being able to fix this, but you need to try to give her some space.” Kade climbed out of the pool, shaking his hair, once again spraying water in every direction. Cocky son of a bitch chuckled as I jumped from my chair and stepped back.


Title: Inevitable
Series: Key West Series #2
Author: C.A. Harms
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Limitless Publishing LLC

Harper Jameson, had built the necessary walls to keep her heart safe. Never again would she allow herself to be weak and vulnerable.

Confident and full of attitude.

A mask she wore that many fell for.

Except Easton Black.

He was equally confident, cocky and knew what he wanted.

Determined.

Things he wanted rarely escaped his grasp. He was immune to the façade Harper had created.

She was intriguing.

It was inevitable and Harper could sense that there was no way out. Easton Black would no doubt be the man who could change everything.

People aren’t always as strong as they appear to be on the outside…



Inevitable Excerpt © C.A. Harms 2015

The moment I knocked on her door, I think my heart jumped in to my throat. A deep vicious bark had my nerves on high alert. The bark didn’t sound like any dog I had ever been around. I know she had one, I remember the day she brought it by Jett’s place to show him, the day she picked him up. But that bark, the one that was still flowing out from behind her door, I had to admit had me a little worried.
I wasn’t an animal guy. I had never had one and had no desire to change that.
When the door came open and I looked down to see a head the size of a car looking back at me, I swallowed hard. Okay so maybe the size of a car was an exaggeration but in panic mode everyone tends to do that.
“That is not a dog,” I stated. “That’s is a tank.”
Harper laughed. “No actually this is Brutus, and I promise you he isn’t just a dog.”
I looked up at her, cocking my eyebrow.
“He is my best friend, my cuddle buddy and the protector.” She explained as she rubbed his head in a motherly way. “He may be big.”
“He’s fucking huge,” I corrected.
“Okay he may be huge, but he is the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet. Don’t let him fool ya, he’s a big baby.” I still wasn’t convince. The idea of a dog being almost as big as most motorcycles, had me convinced that I should wait in the car.
“Will you stop being such a pussy,” Harper stated as she placed her hand on her hip. “He won’t hurt you. In fact he is scared of his own shadow on a good day.”
She opened the door and I took a step inside, still leery of the dog that could stand on his hind legs and be taller than me. She led me toward the couch and directed me to have a seat.
“I just need five minutes.” She rushed off before I could say another word.
I was tense and afraid to move, Brutus, watched me from the left end of the couch. I continued to stare straight ahead, thinking if I avoided eye contact, maybe he would walk away.
My actions had the opposite effect. I felt his head nudge my knee and I stiffened, this shit was messed up. Dogs were supposed to be small and cute. Never should a dog be larger than their owner…never.
I strong nudge against my leg once more, made me sweat a little. Then Brutus went one step further and placed his paw on my thigh, laying his head next to it, letting out a loud, humph.
“Hey there big guy,” my voice vibrated with tension. Harper was right, what the fuck. I was acting like a damn pussy.
I lifted my hand and began petting the top of Brutus’s head. “You’re not that scary are ya?” It was definitely more of a question than a reassuring statement. I still wasn’t completely convinced that he wasn’t going to eat me before Harper finished getting ready.
“Okay, this isn’t so bad is it?”
I let out a breath I had been holding since Harper left me alone with the grizzly. His big puppy dog eyes looking up at me as they sagged in awe. Apparently he liked it when you scratched behind his ears.
So for the next, what felt like ten minutes, I continued to pet him in the place he enjoyed the most. Yes I still silently prayed that I made it out of here with all my limbs in tacked but I may have been able to relaxed, just a little.


Title: Uncontrollable
Series: Key West Series #3
Author: C.A. Harms
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Limitless Publishing LLC
Avery Nolan’s father has never been a part of her life.
As a result, she finds herself becoming a caretaker. Always trying to please other people, willing to tuck her own concerns aside for the happiness of others.

She is selfless.

She is a nurturer.

On the outside, it appears Kade Thomas has it all, but no one can understand the guilt and ache he feels daily.

He is haunted by his past.

Every time he closes his eyes, he finds himself reliving the same nightmare, over and over again.

He blames himself for the loss of Jenna.

He pushed her too far and she paid the price.

Avery saw something special in Kade, from the first day she met him—she could feel it.

But the darkness that consumes him is…

Uncontrollable.

Will she finally be the one to break down the walls he’s built around his heart and soul?

Or will she find some walls are just Indestructible…



Uncontrollable Excerpt © C.A. Harms 2015

KADE“Here’s the address,” Easton said as he passed the paper over the top of the table toward me. “Bennie said they live in a ranch-style home at the end of the lane.”
Vermont. They stuck around for a few months after the funeral and then picked up and moved thousands of miles away. Running from the place where they saw their daughter everywhere they looked.
“You sure about this, Kade?” Jett asked as he sat down in the booth next to me.
“Yeah, I am. It’s something I have to do. It’s the last step before I can say good-bye to Jenna,” I explained as I twisted the paper between my fingers. “I’m ready to move on with Avery, and I can’t do that until I do this.”
My stomach was in knots at the idea of facing Jenna’s parents. I had no idea what to expect, but I wanted to close this chapter.
“I’m gonna need something from you, Jett,” I said as I looked up from my hands.
“And what would that be, brother?” he asked.
“Keep an eye on my girl,” I said, and he grinned widely and nodded as Easton chuckled. “Yeah, I know. You never thought you’d see the day, right?”
Jett placed his hand on my shoulder and patted it.
“Nope, I didn’t, but it looks good on ya.” “What does?” I asked.
“Love, infatuation, whatever you wanna call it,” Easton said.
“Pussy-whipped, henpecked, does it matter how you refer to it?” Jude flopped down in the seat next to Easton, chuckling. “Avery has you wrapped around her pinky, and you are sunk to the deepest depths, brother.”
I smiled. “Where the hell did you come from?”
“I’ve been quietly observing this exchange you three were having.” He leaned back, waiting for me argue with what he had said. But he was right. It was pointless. Avery had me tied up tight, and there was no coming back.


Title: Undeniable
Series: Key West Series #4
Author: C.A. Harms
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published: December 15, 2015
Publisher: Limitless Publishing LLC
Sometimes in life you are forced to do things you may not agree with.
Family meant everything to Jude Calvert.

He would do whatever it took to keep them safe and provide for them no matter what it took to make that happen.

Even if that meant putting his own safety at risk, he had no other choice.
Callie Raine has always felt a heavy attraction toward Jude.

He was fascinating.

He was undeniable.

She knew there was so much more to him than he allowed anyone to see. But she was a headstrong woman and feeling weak was something she wouldn’t allow.

Except when it came to Jude.

However, when Jude is hit with the unexpected and forced to rely on others, Callie realizes he doesn’t take weakness easily.

He becomes even more withdrawn.

More angry.

Will he finally give in and learn to lean on those who care?

Or will he push them beyond the point of no return and once again be left to face his obstacles alone?



Undeniable Excerpt © C.A. Harms 2015

“Hello.” I froze as Jude’s voice carried up the stairway, then jumped up from my position on the floor in our bedroom and scrambled for the door. Before I opened it, I turned back to face the kids, who were playing tug-of-war with the unnamed puppy.
“Stay here.” They both nodded, and I slipped out of the room, closing the door behind me. Jude had just reached the top of the steps, and he looked up with a smile.
“Where are the kids?”
“They’re playing in our room,” I said as I approached him.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing,” I assured him as I continued to walk. He cocked an eyebrow at me, and my stomach dropped. He was seeing right through me. I was such a bad liar.
“The kids are busy. Wanna sneak downstairs and have a quickie?” I wagged my eyebrows, but his facial expression did not change in the slightest.
“Now I know you’re full of shit. You’re actually attempting to distract me with sex,” he said with a grin. I was just about to argue when the puppy barked.
“What was that?” he asked.
“Uh…”
My stomach was flipping around anxiously, and I didn’t even get to figure out a way to break the news before everything broke loose. The bedroom door came open behind me, and I heard the puppy’s claws tapping against the hardwood floor as Zoey and Matthew followed him. Squealing and laughter filled the hallway as I remained locked in place. I avoided looking at Jude. In fact, I stared down the floor instead.
“Are those my boxers?” Jude asked, and I looked up. He was pointing at the puppy, who was sitting back on his butt looking up at Jude. Hanging from his mouth were a red pair of Jude’s Calvin Klein boxers I had just purchased last week.
“Warrior likes to play tug-of-war with them,”
Matthew announced as he pulled on the other end of the red material.
“See, you just hook your hand through this handle, and he pulls back.”
Matthew slipped his little hand through the front opening in the boxers.
“His name is not Warrior,” Zoey argued.
“We still have to draw for his name, remember? Callie said so.”
I could feel Jude’s eyes boring in to me. I knew he was waiting for me to look up, but I was avoiding eye contact.
“What do you think we should name him, Uncle Jude?” Matthew asked.
“I like Warrior, but Zoey said Buddy or Charlie. I don’t like those.”
The kids began to argue over the name of our new puppy, and of course I continued to keep my head down as my heart raced with the idea that Jude may be angry.
“Callie,” Jude said, and my stomach lurched. He didn’t sound mad, yet he didn’t sound happy, either. Silence set in, and I knew all eyes were on me. I took in a deep breath and closed my eyes tightly.
“I never should have let them convince me to go into the pet store, but before I knew what hit me, they were laughing and playing with this cute little guy.”
I looked up and found Jude staring back at me, an unreadable expression on his face. “They ganged up on me, and they gave me that look. You know the one.”
t was then I noticed the smile tugging at his lips. “Are you ever going to be able to tell them no?”
Jude asked as he stepped around the puppy. I shook my head. I knew the moment they turned on me and gave me those big, sad eyes, I was putty in their hands. I was unable to disappoint them.

C.A. Harms is like any other addicted reader. She enjoys happy endings and HEA love stories. She hasn’t always been a lover of Romance and had once been addicted to a good Mystery. Just recently she has taken on a new liking and now is a full blown Romance novel addict.

She lives in Illinois and enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. You will always find her with her kindle or paperback in hand as it is her favorite pass time.

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Siblings Spotlight Tour @kjans3 @MTWPromotions @LimitlessBooks

Siblings
Author: K.J. Janssen

Genre: Adult, Family Drama/Romance
Published: August 11, 2015
Published by: Limitless Publishing LLC

The Symington Parents…

Marilyn Symington strives to be a good mother and the family peacemaker. But when lingering health issues send her to her husband’s business partner Dr. John Hazelton, she is drawn into an illicit relationship which threatens the foundation of all she’s built.

Ronald Symington is a well-respected doctor, but he is burdened by problems at the Symington Medical Center and the growing family friction, with only the apparition of his late father to rely on for advice. Looking for leverage, Ron hires a PI to investigate his uncooperative partner, but what will he do with the shocking secret he discovers?

The Symington Children…

Richard, the oldest of the Symington offspring, followed Ronald into medicine, but he can’t escape his father’s shadow. He also has a hidden gambling addiction, which leads him to perform illegal abortions to pay off his debts, though he tries to convince himself he’s helping his patients—prostitutes—by saving them from back-alley butchers.

Wilson is a true middle child, lost in the shuffle, fighting for recognition and approval, and always feeling he comes up short. After falling in with drug dealers, he spent time in prison, but is now seeking redemption by secretly working with the FBI to catch the real offenders.

Maggie, the youngest, is a Registered Nurse, but she’s always looking for something more, something…exciting. She and her lover experiment with drugs and sexual fantasies, until one particular fantasy turns terrifying, forcing her to reexamine her priorities.

Can the damaged family which found its wealth and social standing in medicine somehow heal and find peace? Or are their sins too numerous and egregious to forgive?

“My thoughts transitioned time; the past and future blended together and became meaningless; of no use to me. What I was experiencing, I was experiencing in the now. My body craved attention now. I remember running my hands over my body looking for some type of satisfaction. Then I saw you standing off in the distance. You looked like Michelangelo’s statue of David. I wanted you. I called to you, but you couldn’t hear me. I tried to get up and run to you, but my arms and legs were frozen still. Then suddenly a large dark form approached and began to engulf me. A part of it entered me and started pounding my body to the cadence of the music. Finally my body felt a massive burst of ecstasy and I screamed out your name and that is when I resumed consciousness. I found myself on top of you. We were both naked and you had a rock hard erection. We must have been making love.”

I am a multi-genre novelist living in Ohio with my wife and miniature Schnauzer. I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but moved to Long Island, N.Y. when I was 8 years old.

Reading and writing fiction have always been a big part of my life. As a child I wrote about outer-space and in high school I was the editor of the school’s literary newspaper. During that period I wrote mostly short stories and novellas.

I earned a BS in Logistics from NYU. My career in NYC was spent in management positions at several large companies, including Exxon, Metropolitan Life and J.C. Penney. During those years I had little time for writing as my career required extensive travel and I was busy raising a family.

In the early eighties, as an empty-nester, I moved to Centerville, OH with my wife, Jeannette. I retired early from the bicycle manufacturer Huffy, when they went into bankruptcy.

Now, I am a full-time writer. I write because I feel that there are stories that need to be told. I enjoy the process of writing and firmly believe that you do your best writing when you are well read. To that end, I read at least one novel a week.

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