DeOlmos, M.A.: Ocean’s Collide

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Book Title: Ocean’s Collide
Author: M.A. De Olmas
Genre: Contemporary New Adult Novel
Release Date: November 2013
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Synopsis

My name is Livie Marie Acosta. I am a firm believer that childhood memories are supposed to be happy, joyous, and beautiful. I also believe everyone else in life has just that… except for me, of course.

I came close to having that once with my own family. I had a loving mother that treated me like her little princess. My father was, and still is, the biggest support system in my life, but even his love isn’t enough for me at times. I would have been a proud big sister at the age of seven, but Antonio Jr. was torn away from us before he was even born.

I was destined to be alone and hurt, both emotionally and physically scarred.

The only skeletons that remained of my once happy family was a father I adored, but who lived hundreds of miles away, and a mother whom I had spent most of my own life saving from her demons.

Like many people, they are scarred so deep that when they bleed, it is a reminder that they are still human.

I have a secret. A secret only I know about. I keep my secret well, and keep it hidden from the peeping eyes of the world.

At least I tried… that is until two angels barged into my life, and into my scattered heart. Their presence in my life spun me on my heels, turning my world yet again upside down, and right side up all at the same time.

What I find could either save me, or finally push me over the edge.

Here is my story…

Meet the Author

Author PictureMy name is Melissa DeOlmos, a newbie to the world of indie writing. I live in sunny side Palm Bay, Florida with my two lovely crazies ages five and two, along with my Law Enforcement champ of a husband. I could say that writing novels has been a passion that I’ve always pursued, but I can’t.
Writing for me has always been my own secret escape into a land of wonders, opportunities; loves and so much trouble that I sometimes wonder if I need medication for the stories that pop into my head. I am now deciding to share my mystical mind and stories with the world, so that hopefully others may also find that little something extra they’ve been looking for. Thank you and I hope you enjoy my books.

Social Links

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS AUTHOR

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Vespia, Cynthia: Lucky Sevens

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Lucky Sevens

by Cynthia Vespia

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]Luca “Lucky” Lucazi is a man who lives for the job, until the job starts to threaten his life. A former Navy Seal, Lucky is ideal as the head of security for Lucky Sevens Casino. But when major names at the casino start falling victim to deadly and suspicious “accidents” Lucky must fight his way through a cast of eccentric characters only Las Vegas could spawn, and his own battle with alcoholism, before his lover Brooklyn – the sweethearted stripper – becomes the next victim. But when Lucky faces off with illusionist Christopher King, endowed with real magic powers, will his luck finally run out?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:

Copyright © 2013 Cynthia Vespia

All rights reserved.

Predict, prevent and protect. The same words he’d learned as a Navy SEAL bled over into his job as head of security very well. But as Luca “Lucky” Luchazi stared down at the body of his friend and former mentor Charles Vega he didn’t feel as though he’d honored those words at all.

More than a dozen police vehicles converged on the scene. The black and whites of Las Vegas Metro were scattered everywhere. Their flashing light bars washed everything in red drowning out the mix of neon colors that came from the casinos neighboring Lucky Sevens.

Charles had come to Vegas in its infancy and built his empire from scratch. Even while the others came crashing down to make way for the new mega resorts with their elaborate designs and theme park style attractions, Lucky Sevens remained standing as one of the last legendary casinos on The Strip.

Lucky had always admired the old man for remaining true to his ideals even when the casino was taking a pounding in the pocket book. Now he was nothing more than a sack of meat splattered all over the sidewalk.

Personnel from the county coroner’s office had also responded to the scene, but not soon enough. The vision of good old Charlie lying with his robe open exposing his wobbly bits to the world, and lying in a pool of his own blood, would haunt Lucky for the rest of his days. Even now as they draped him in plastic and wrapped him up tight for his last ride all Lucky could see was the blood. He’d witnessed his fair share of death during war but this time it was different. This was Charlie. He’d been like a second father to Lucky ever since he set foot in sin city. So when he overheard two Metro officers disrespecting Charles’ death with their blown out theories Lucky set them straight.

“Hey ease up,” Lucky said walking in between the two officers. “I never thought you were the type to spread gossip, Mel.”

Lucky had known Mel Harrison for many years. They’d done favors for each other multiple times. Harrison was the only guy on Metro that Lucky held any respect for. He’d always assumed the feeling had been mutual.

“Sorry Lucky, I know how much Charlie meant to you.” Harrison motioned to his partner. “Get the coroner over here to finish up.”

Harrison put a reassuring hand on Lucky’s shoulder and the two officers went on about their business. Lucky let them walk. He let them scrape Charles Vega off the sidewalk like road kill. He just stood there as a blast of hot wind rolled in off the desert and struck him like a blow dryer on high speed.

Damn weather had turned on a dime. What were they calling it? El Nino? Something Spanish – go figure. Name somewhat brought to mind hot sand beaches and girls in Brazilian cut thongs.

There would be questions about Charlie’s death, inquiries, maybe accusations but then they’d put everything to bed wrapped in a nice little bow. To the police, the papers, and the tourists (who even now posed for pictures in front of a real life Las Vegas crime scene) it would all be dusted off as just another gambling related suicide.

For Lucky the question would gnaw at his insides for eternity.

How could he have let this happen?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

AuthorPicCynthia Vespia, “The Original Cyn,” has a background as a certified personal trainer; licensed private security guard; award winning video editor, and graphic designer. But the creative outlet of novel writing has always remained her first love.

Today Cynthia continues to write character driven suspense and fantasy novels. With a plot pace to stir the adrenaline and keep the pages turning, Cyn likes to refer to her novels as “Real life situations that you could find yourself in but hope to God you never do.” In her spare time she enjoys reading, movies that involve a strong plot/characters, and keeping active through various forms of martial arts and fitness.

Find out more at:

www.CynthiaVespia.com

www.Facebook.com/authorcynthiavespia

www.twitter.com/cynfulcharm

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Vespia/e/B002CAWFQ8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1382265998&sr=8-1

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lucky-sevens-cynthia-vespia/1117028793?ean=2940045300360

3D 5 Gold Stars

 

Cynthia will be awarding an eBook copy of one of her backlist books to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a Grand Prize of a T-Shirt (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.


I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can by clicking on the banner below:

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MacKinney, Hawk: Nymrod Resurrection

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NYMROD RESURRECTION

By Hawk MacKinney

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MEDIA KIT Cover-Nymrod_ResurectionInvestigating an unlikely murder, Ex-SEAL and part time PI Craige Ingram discovers an officially sanctioned assassination.  His investigation quickly stirs beyond the dirty backrooms of the nation’s capital with more killings across Europe and the Middle East.  The dead woman is somehow connected to stolen artifacts from a time before Babylon.  As he probes apparently unconnected clues, he locks horns with an enigmatic enticing secret agent with her own agenda and her own way of doing things.  Craige faces train wrecks and deadly assassins doing business with a rich mercenary selling biotoxins, rare stamps, deadly nerve gases, and smuggled nuclear material to the highest bidder. As Craige peels away at the shadowy Operation Nymrod, he finds an elusive power-hungry dead-set mind – a driven obsession with a frightful arsenal of bioweapons ready to fulfill ancient prophecies with a very personal Armageddon that makes the monstrous last day of the twin towers of the World Trade Center pale in possibilities.

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EXCERPT:

In the early predawn of ebbing moonlight the muffled whoosh swept low and fast.  The vague contours skimmed just above the trees, became vanishing specks in the blue-black sky before either of the two hunters heard anything.

One cocked a grizzled head skyward, “What the hell was that?”

“I didn’t hear much’a nothin’ till it was come an’ gone,” the other one answered.  “Reckon it was another one of them UFOs they keep sayin’ we ain’t seein’?”

“UFO, my foot….” spit a chew of tobacco.  He was pissed, “Was one a them hot-shot jet jockey pilots out’a them Marine bases up the coast.  Cuttin’ the fool…messin’ down this away with their fancy, souped-up hot-rod toys.”

“You like hot-rods.  That first one you rebuilt in high school was a real zinger.”

“You can bet that racket sure ‘nough spooked them birds.  With all that rumpus them turkeys done gone to cover, an’ I took a day off work so to be out here early.”

Precisely one-six-one-point-seven miles beyond the two irate hunters, on-board computers in the matched pair of Res-and-Dev stealth prototypes initiated the pre-programmed coordinates…compass headings abruptly changed.  A quarter mile later RPMs simultaneously revved down, the speed of the low-flying bullet fuselages slowed, the whap-whap of their rotors barely a whisper.  Like two lustrous ebony sharks suspended in midair, their twin backlit moon-glow backwashes wrenched at the limbs of nearby trees.  This wasn’t his first unannounced stopover to this airstrip.

From the air the narrow ribbon of runway blended with the curtain of surrounding forest.  In the muddy half light between night and dawn the runways weren’t easy to spot…seclusion a thing enigmatic shadowy soldier-of-fortune Count Mihály Keaulescu much favored.  Fakete Sólyom stenciled across the nose of Chopper1 in bold white Magyar lettering—Black Falcon.  When it came to his own personal creature comforts, Keaulescu spared no expense.

Inside Chopper1, ensconced in his over-padded leather custom-designed king seat, looking through the oversized window, Keaulescu scowled at the empty airstrip. “We wait,” he grunted.  “…it is but two hours.”  The approaching dawn-rise blazed a morose luster in the barbarous blue eyes.

Both choppers eased to simultaneous landings near the far end of Moccasin Hollow’s unlit jet strip.  His timetable skewed when a hydraulic valve acted up on Chopper2.  In his line of work timing was often the difference between success and an insufferable loss of profit.  Keaulescu squinted toward the aurora sunup. “Is imperative cargo be delivered.”

Both chopper crews kept a low profile, making sure they stayed out of his way.  No one wanted to become a target of Keaulescu’s renowned Transylvanian explosive rage.  The specific hour was explicitly chosen to avoid the emerald-eyed Welsh hostility of the unmanageable Ingram and his fanged hellhound that was loosed on them on their previous unannounced visit.

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

MEDIA KIT Hawk-DSC3027_jpgWith postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.

Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series… murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention.  Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series is due out this fall with another mystery-thriller work out in 2014. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012.

“Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy–these are the things that take Hawk’s main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation’s capital and across Europe and the Middle East.”

Barbara Casey, President

Barbara Casey Literary Agency

www.hawkmackinney.net

www.amazon.com

www.barnesandnoble.com

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One randomly drawn commenter will win a $20 Amazon gift card.

I encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be by clicking on the banner below:

 

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Wolf, Sara: Lovely Vicious

 

Seventeen-year-old Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, nine weeks, and five days, and after what happened last time, she intends to keep it that way. Since then she’s lost eighty-five pounds, gotten four streaks of purple in her hair, and moved to the Buttcrack-of-Nowhere Ohio to help her mom escape a bad relationship.

All the girls in her new school want one thing – Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East Summit High. Hot as an Armani ad, smart enough to get into Yale, and colder than the Arctic, Jack Hunter’s never gone out with anyone. Sure, people have seen him downtown with beautiful women, but he’s never given high school girls the time of day. Until Isis punches him in the face.

Jack’s met his match. Suddenly everything is a game.

The goal: Make the other beg for mercy.

The game board: East Summit High.

The reward: Something neither of them expected.

*This book contains language, some of which may be unsuitable for younger readers.*



*This is the first book in the LOVELY VICIOUS series.*


 

“I paid the fee, if that’s what you’re here about,” Madison starts. Jack looks to her, smile flashing on for a moment.

“Let me talk to her. Give me one second.”

“Okay,” Madison giggles. He grabs my elbow and pulls me in the other direction.

“Is that how you kissed me?” I ask, nearly tripping as he pulls me along. “Golly gee, it looks kind of mildly fucking embarrassing! No wonder up my appointments – ”

“Whoa, I think you overestimate me, shitlord. Last time I checked all I did was be in the wrong place at the right time. I saw you and had to – ”

“Stalk me.”

“ – delicately approach you. In a sideways manner. From behind. Without being seen at all. For ten minutes.”

“Why are you even out? I thought you were sick.”

“I was. See, it’s this thing called an immune system -”

He holds up his hand and rubs his eyes. “Okay, stop. Shut all systems down and just. Stop. Talking.”

“Why?”

“It’s annoying.”

“That’s never stopped me before!”

“Why did you follow me?”

“I was…curious?”

He looks down at the jar of frosting I clutch in my hands. “Are you eating that out of the can?”

“Are you the king of stupid questions?” I fire back. “Of course I am! Frosting is the ambrosia of the gods. God, if you’re into that religious thing. Are you religious? Somehow I get the feeling the only church you’d join is the church of self-worship. Your body is your temple. Work it, boy.”

“What are you saying?” He snarls.

“You’re blabbering!”

“At least I’m not whoring!”

“I’m working right now, okay? I’m getting paid. So you need to just piss off and go to whatever immature party you were going to in the first place.”

“How’d you know I’m going to a party?”

“The receipt for red plastic cups sticking out of your jacket. Your eyeliner. Girls don’t make eyeliner wings that big unless they plan on drinking.”

“Touché. You’re smarter than I gave you credit for.”

“And you’re far more annoying than I first suspected. If I’d known you’d stalk me like all the others, I never would’ve kissed you, even as payback.”

“Seriously, you kiss everyone like that though! It was nothing special.”

“Exactly. It was nothing special. So back off and leave me alone.”

Sara Wolf is the author of ARRANGED, a college-aged romance series centered on an arranged marriage. She’s currently working on her next New Adult romance series. She’s addicted to the Vampire Diaries, loves chocolate and romantic angst, and can’t get enough of damaged heroes.

Website: http://sarawolfbooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sara-Wolf/476490705731978

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sara_Wolf1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6862831.Sara_Wolf


Exciting new series, cover reveal, and GIVEAWAY: Blood Orchid!

Are you ready for a new kind of heroine? A new kind of antiheroine? Tough, outspoken, skirting the edge of morality in the name of justice? Award-winning authors Karpov Kinrade (KK) and Anne Chaconas (ABC) have teamed up to bring you the kind of woman you can cheer for and would  never want to cross.

Even better–you can be a part of it, too! Check out the Rafflecopter below to find out how you can get your name in one kickass story!

Meet Beverly Orchid

 

Who is Beverly Orchid?

KK: Bev is a complicated character who is motivated to act when others might sit back and let someone else handle the dirty work. I love her for that. I think fans will love that they can relate to her. We’ve all had those moments where we WISH we could act on our most base needs of revenge and blood justice, and that is what she does. She grabs her life by the balls and squeezes. Hard. She doesn’t always make the morally right choice. But she makes the right choice for her and her family. She does what has to be done, and she’s not afraid to get blood on her hands to do what she thinks is right.

I’m incredibly excited about exploring a darker character in contemporary fiction. Of all our Karpov Kinrade books published to date, my favorite characters have often been the villains who become antiheroes because of some redeeming moment or quality. (The Seeker in Forbidden Fire, Blake in Seduced by Pain and Seduced by Power) In fact, the antihero Blake, from Seduced: Rose’s Story, is getting a 7 book series because he’s so fucking badass and epic. Blood Orchid will give me a chance to not only work with one of my very best literary besties (ABC), but to tackle darker themes and characters in a contemporary setting with a female protagonist who has the kind of life from the outside that most of us can relate to.

I truly believe this series, which is 50% mystery and 50% thriller, will be 100% EPIC!

ABC: I can’t fully pinpoint why I’m so very excited to dive headfirst into the world of Beverly Orchid. I don’t know if it’s because she’s fully badass. I don’t know if it’s because she does shit that I wish I had the balls to do. I don’t know if it’s because I wish I knew her in real life, or because, on the surface, I could be her in real life. The thing about Bev is that she really could be that mom you see at the playground–no make-up, hair in a messy bun, wearing yoga pants and a baggy sweatshirt. Pushing her kid on the swing. Smiling in the sunshine.

Packing a 9mm in her purse. Getting ready to set things right.

Beverly’s tough, funny, smart as a whip. She doesn’t apologize for her choices. She is, however, sorry she’s not sorry.

She’s also vulnerable, confused, and frightened.

She’s real. Writing her will be a bitch, because she’s human. She’s got all those foibles and peccadilloes and contradictions. Her motives aren’t always good, and her actions don’t always make sense. Sometimes she does one thing and sometimes the complete opposite (and feels they are both okay). Just. Like. Us. 

Writing her will be a bitch–but I have a sneaking suspicion both KK and I are up for the kickass, groundbreaking challenge.

Coming Spring 2014: Blood Orchid

Beverly Orchid is out for blood.

Blood Orchid Beverly Orchid Anne Chaconas Karpov KinradeWhen her twin sister ends up beaten and in a coma after taking Bev’s place at a charity event, Beverly will stop at nothing to find her sisters’ attacker and make him pay.
But this seemingly random mugging takes a sinister twist as she’s pulled deeper into the dark world of human trafficking and discovers a shocking lead in her investigation.

The attack wasn’t random. And Beverly was the intended target.

As the trail goes cold and the police give up, Beverly is forced to make a choice between what is right–and what is just.

Darkly humorous, dangerously addictive, full of mystery and ethical conundrums, Blood Orchid will have you questioning what you would be capable of when faced with the worst kind of evil humanity offers.

Add Blood Orchid to your Goodreads to-read list!

Wondering exactly what kind of real-life antihero hero KK and ABC are crafting? Check out these back-and-forth tag-team blog posts, and you’ll get a pretty good idea. **SPOILER** She’s pretty damn badass.

Get your name in Blood Orchid!

Enter the Rafflecopter below–the grand prize is having a character named after you!

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Clark, Carlyle: The Black Song Inside

The Black Song Inside Button 300 x 225Atticus Wynn and Rosemary Sanchez, newly engaged private investigators, have seen the dark and violent side of life. Nothing, though, has prepared them for an explosive murder investigation that threatens to tear their relationship apart as they struggle to solve a case that could leave them in prison or dead.

Atticus’s manipulative ex-girlfriend bursts back into their lives wielding a secret about Rosemary’s family that she exploits to force the couple into investigating the execution-style slaying of her lover. The case thrusts Atticus and Rosemary headlong into the world of human trafficking and drug smuggling, while rendering them pawns in Tijuana Cartel captain Armando Villanueva’s bloody bid to take over the cartel.

The Black Song Inside is a vivid crime thriller rife with murder and madness, melded with gallows humor and the heroism of two flawed and compelling protagonists who, if they can save themselves, may learn the nature of redemption and the ability to forgive.

 

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EXCERPT:

PROLOGUE

 BARTOLO AGUILAR SQUATTED beside a rutted dirt road in the Anza-Borrego Desert, two hours east of San Diego, and savored the emotional and spiritual insanity of the woman who was watching the dying girl spasming in the sand, gurgling and frothing, her bloodshot eyes rolled up in her head so that they looked like a pair of crimson moons.

Bartolo favored dawn in the desert for these birthings. Dusk would work, but there was nothing like the biting crispness of daybreak, the dark sky marbled with orange light, the desert awash in the smoldering winds sweeping off the mountains–like amniotic fluid, bathing all three of them in the warm righteousness of the womb: the unknowing convert, the sacrifice, and of course himself, the man of God.

That this dying birthing had been not the result of careful choice on his part, but rather a fortuitous order from his current employer, Armando Villanueva, made it no less sacred. The Tijuana Cartel captain hadn’t ordered the birthing nor was he aware of Bartolo’s faith; Villanueva just wanted a problem to disappear. He would be furious to discover Bartolo, on divine impulse alone, had brought the woman to witness. Villanueva didn’t understand that the will of the Lord came before worldly duties.

Bartolo had founded his own religion according to three words on an aged and scorched parchment he had carried every day since discovering it squirreled away in an ancient hut next to a jungle-shrouded temple, just before he and his comrades roped the shack’s occupant, a wizened shaman, to his cot and set the hut ablaze. Now, decades later, Bartolo Aguilar was the sole surviving member and self-anointed High Priest of the Church of the Aloned, and it was baptism time.

The dying girl was nothing as a person but everything as a sacrifice, a vessel whose perfect suffering could draw into the light that which hunkered in the shadows of the woman’s soul, of everyone’s soul. The girl wasn’t even worthy of being a floor scrubber in his congregation. She was just another throwaway who’d fooled herself into thinking that a high school dropout, who couldn’t even handle the pressures of the fast-food industry, could earn the respect of drug cartels by allowing herself to be exploited in perhaps the world’s highest-risk, lowest-reward job: drug mule “swallower”.

Her belly held twenty condoms filled with highest-grade heroin. Had she made it to the drop, they’d have given her laxatives and waited until she shit out fifty thousand dollars worth of product, and then paid her only five hundred. But one of those condoms had ruptured. Maybe her stomach acid had eaten through it. Maybe the guy who filled the condoms had been tripping on his own product and fucked up. Didn’t matter. Not to Bartolo. Not to the guy who loaded the condoms. Not to the man who ran the whole thing. Not even to the girl–now.

So the girl didn’t count. Was she Aloned? Certainly, but she had started near the bottom. Died at the bottom. A little tumble like that didn’t warrant membership. To sit in the pews in the Church of the Aloned, you must have tasted the dizzying heights of the exalted, been respected and admired, yet have cast it all away for the basest of reasons, which were, as far as Bartolo was concerned, the hidden truths of everything. Hidden that is, until Bartolo came striding into your life, clutched the nape of your neck, and forced you to stare long and deep into the mirror to see what you could do. Would do. Will do. Are doing. Have done.

The woman was in that most precarious of moments. She was doing nothing to help the girl. That the girl couldn’t be helped was both the least and most critical element.

“She’s dying,” the woman said again, her hands tucked under her armpits as if she were cold despite the ninety-degree desert morning, her feet shifting as if she had to urinate.

“A cock-sized hit of heroin will do that to you,” he said, his voice quiet but ragged, like the sound of saw cutting bone behind a closed door. He stood up, wiped his wet and grimy face with a black-and-white checkered bandanna, and adjusted his sweat-darkened cowboy hat.

“I only came with you because you said there was a way to help her. So what do we do? Why not take her to a hospital. We have to do something.”

“She’s got enough pure H in her now to kill a fucking rhino. There’s a drug you could give her that might counteract that, but I don’t have any. There’s nothing to do but wait until she dies, and then we cut the rest of the product out of her belly.”

“You don’t know that. You’re not a doctor.”

“You can always call 911.” He stepped back and leaned against his white pickup, thick arms crossed over his barrel chest, the old truck creaking with his added bulk.

“Like you’d let me.”

“Sure, I would. I wouldn’t stick around after, of course. You might as well, though. You use your cell phone, and they’ll know you were here anyway. When someone dies during the commission of a felony–your felony–that’s first-degree murder. You ready to ride the needle when it wasn’t even your fault? For a girl who’s going to die anyway?” He let that sit out there for a while.

It’d be easy to reel the woman in later. Give her a few news stories about mules who had survived. Hell, maybe it would be easier than that. The girl might survive the overdose, only to die of dehydration alone in the desert. If the woman saw that story, he would fucking own her. Perhaps she would be his first acolyte. It was time to branch out anyway. Why not start with a pretty woman like this one was? On the outside, anyway. Ugly inside now. A perfect match. The things they could do together. But first they needed to cherish this moment. Worship the girl’s birthing.

“Bullshit. You’d never let me call 911,” the woman said. “You’d be afraid that I’d . . .” She balled her fists and finally looked him in the eye. “That I’d tell them about you.”

He shook his head slowly, grinning when she looked away–probably unable to bear seeing her twin, miniature, distorted selves in his mirrored sunglasses. “I got ten guys,” he said, “All solid citizens, who’ll swear I was chasing tail with them down in Mexicali.”

“You still wouldn’t take the chance.”

“Bigger chance they’d do something to you. For a nothing like the girl, as long as it looks like what it is, they’ll sleepwalk through the motions, then head to the bar early for beers and baseball. That’s why we’re going to wait awhile after she dies to cut her open. So there’s no doubt it was the drug that killed her. But, for someone like you, they’ll break out all the CSI forensics shit to find you. Maybe try to make it go federal. Not worth the risk. Don’t pretend like you haven’t thought of that.”

She flinched. “Wha . . .what do you mean?”

“You see the girl is suffering; you know we aren’t going to do anything.” He patted the pistol in his waistband. “And you haven’t asked about this, because you know the difference. Now we can walk away from it, and only we know that we were ever here. If we put her out of her misery, that’s not manslaughter. It’s murder. No statute of limitations. The rest of your life waiting for the knock on the door. Let’s get it flopping around on the table. She’s going to die, and we ain’t gonna do shit about it.”

“You fuck! You fuck! You fuck! You lied when you told me there was something I could do for her just to get me out here, you twisted freak.”

“No, you’re doing something for her right now.” The priest’s voice deepened and thrummed as though he spoke in synchronicity with something dark and unseen; his westward gaze seemed to stretch beyond her, chasing the darkness around the rim of the world as it fled the rising sun. “You are bearing witness to her end. You are grieving for the loss of her. Is that not doing something for her? Would it be better to let her die out here alone and unmourned with no one to remember? Now, she will be remembered, won’t she? That is something I have given unto you for her. She will be as much in your thoughts as any child from your womb. She will have a mother who wakes screaming with the vision of her lost child still floating before her eyes in the darkness. What better homage to a dead child than a mother’s endless grief?”

The woman gaped at him. “What are you?”

The priest shook his head, his gaze returning to normal, his voice again seeming harsh and whispery and human. “Look, this is just one shit day. You put it behind you. You make up for it by doing good. What good can you do rotting in prison? What good will going to prison do for all the people who look up to you? Trying to do what would make you feel better would just be selfish on your part. You need to look at the bigger picture here. You’ve got to suck it up and do the hard thing.”

Bartolo stopped, luxuriating in the words he would say next, which even now seemed almost like a caress in his throat. A revelation. He now knew who should be his acolytes. Who knew the greatest height of human purpose? Mothers. How easily that purpose could be diverted? Perverted? Bent to the will of the Church of the Aloned? That had to be why the Lord had inspired him to bring the woman, so he would come to just that epiphany. Mothers would be the foundation of his church.

His body alive with zeal, words rolled out–not from him, but from the one true God using him as He should use his prophet–fashioning a lifeline that was a noose around the neck of her old self. “So the question is,” he said, “are you going to throw away a whole life and reputation, and all the goodwill you’ve built up, just so you can feel better? Think of your children.”

The woman collapsed into the sand, sobbing.

How he loved these rare moments when God spoke through him and blessed his desire to step free of the roles society forced him into–to speak the stark truth and watch the comprehension of it rip away the flimsy masks of humanity that society demands people wear.

In these quickening moments, when the convert was accepting the baptism, washing her old self away with the burning tears of the Aloned, he thought of the truth he’d first learned from the old map he’d carried next to his heart as a child soldier for the FARC rebels in the jungles of Colombia. The very same map he carried now.

After a day of dog-trotting through the jungle, or machine-gunning villagers, or dismembering refugees, or beating a man unconscious only to wake him up with a pail of fetid swamp water and start over, or being forced to hold girls down while older boys grunted and thrust atop them, he would sneak away with his penlight–careful to keep his tears, blood, and sweat off the yellowed and wrinkled parchment–and study the ancient map.

Those sessions, hunched in darkness, swarmed by mosquitoes and the cries of the damning and the damned, were when he founded the Church of the Aloned with the certainty that, like the prophets of old, the suffering he’d felt and inflicted had revealed to him searing truths of human instinct that were his burden and privilege to share.

The exquisite nautical and geographical details the long-dead cartographer had so painstakingly sketched held no appeal for him. What riveted him was what the man had scrawled on the other side of the line that marked the end of the known world: Beyond Here Be Monsters.

It was the child soldier Bartolo Aguilar, alone, his body wracked with sickness and exhaustion, his physical and spiritual suffering forging him into something new to the world, who realized the ancient cartographer had inserted an extra word that rendered the whole phrase backward.

Now, immersed in the languid heat of the coming day, ensorcelled by the brilliance of the orange-fingered dawn spreading across the lightening sky, Bartolo looked first at the dying girl, then the weeping woman, and finally, nodding, studied himself in the side mirror of his pickup, his face a blank shadow, his head haloed by the rising sun. Not Beyond Here Be Monsters, but simply Here Be Monsters.

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Chapter 1

ATTICUS WYNN’S GAZE locked on the distorted twin reflections of himself in Detective Meadows’s sunglasses as he prepared to spur himself toward an action that had, for countless people, led to immediate and violent death.

The two men stood in Atticus’s driveway, facing each other a body length apart. Bloated clouds riddled with darkness, threatening to add to San Diego’s record summer rainfall, bunched and rolled across the noon sky as though something large and better unseen moved restlessly inside them. The moisture and heat conspired to transform the air into the breath of a beast.

Detective Meadows stood spread-legged in a pair of khakis, his palms upturned, fingers hooked. His gray golf shirt bulged across his waist, but his arms and shoulders were humped with muscle. His smile was as unnatural as his gel-spiked hair. “Are you going to help us out or not” he asked. “We’re just looking for some professional courtesy here.”

Atticus, back to the wall of his Spanish-style stucco home, hands jammed beneath his armpits with the thumbs skyward, narrowed his eyes. Professional courtesy? That meant Meadows knew Atticus was a private investigator. The subtext was also clear–tell us what you know or lose your license. What had Claire gotten him into? No way to know but to go with Meadows. Before he did however, there was one ploy he could try. It was risky, perhaps fatal. Like every other African-American man, Atticus’s elders had jack-hammered into him the need to never surprise a cop, and he never had, until now.

Atticus lunged into Detective Meadows’s personal space, his face wrangled into a grin. His hand darted up to clutch and squeeze the tall man’s shoulder as he said, “I’d be glad to help.”

The detective flinched, shoulder flexing under Atticus’s palm, fair-skinned cheeks roaring with redness. Atticus stepped back, hands dangling at his sides. He gauged Meadows’s reaction, expecting threats, a tirade, a freckled fist crashing into his jaw–anything but a conciliatory nod and a thin-lipped grin like a slit in an overripe peach.

The black-veined clouds felt very close then, their shadows obscuring the rules of the world Atticus knew. In his experience, men like Meadows considered every encounter a confrontation and would have it no other way. What could motivate him to meet Atticus with such a commitment to faux friendliness?

The detective stepped over to his gray, unmarked cruiser; its buggy whip antenna, fastened into an arc like a scorpion’s tail, quivered with the opening of the door. The back door.

“What happened to professional courtesy?” Atticus said.

Meadows held the smile, the tendons in his neck as taut with potential as the power lines overhead. “Regulations”.

“Of course,” Atticus said, walking toward the cruiser. “What other reason could there be?”

An hour later in police headquarters, Atticus had spent forty-five minutes alone in an interrogation room that reeked of ammonia and fear, with no idea whether his wait was to last seconds or hours. He expected that. It’s part of how they break you. The waiting and wondering make you feel powerless even when you know that’s what it’s supposed to do. If it were important, they’d talk to you immediately, right? So it’s probably no big deal. No need to keep your guard up. By the time they finally come for you, you’re desperate to talk yourself out of your situation. And getting you anxious and talking is what interrogation is all about.

In the age of the smartphone, the isolation ploy doesn’t work as well with a cooperative witness like Atticus. But smartphones create problems too. Like trying to explain why you didn’t call your fiancee, who’s also your partner in your PI business, the moment you had a chance. Pondering Rosemary’s reaction, Atticus shook his head.

No way could he actually talk to her. She’d hear the stress in his voice before he finished his first sentence. And what could he say? “Why am I stressed, honey? Well, the cops are questioning me. Why you ask? Well, it’s like this. Remember Claire? That’s right–my ex, Claire. You know, the sister of your former fiance who killed himself after you dumped him? The one who despises you, swore she’d never forgive you. Well, funny thing, hon. Guess what! She’s blackmailing me into helping her beat a murder charge. What has she got on me, you ask? What could she possibly blackmail me with? Oh nothing. Nothing at all. Actually, the person she’s got something on is you.”

He compromised and texted Rosemary, asking her to shoot him as much info as she could on Meadows ASAP.

Meadows shoved the door open and marched in with a man he introduced as Detective Morales, his partner. Morales stood behind Meadows, thumbs hooked in his belt, and smiled vaguely at Atticus. He seemed to be trying for harmless, but stocky and clad in a bright-banded shirt, his dark-skinned face spattered with nodules and pockmarked, black-pebble eyes measuringly cold, and a bald head, he looked like a Gila monster eyeing a wounded rabbit.

Meadows sat at the head of the table and plunked down a tape recorder. “We’re going to play a 911 call. Please tell us if you recognize the voice of the caller or have any idea what she’s talking about.”

Atticus nodded, suspecting the real reason they wanted to play it for him without a hint of what it was about was to keep him from having the chance to guard his reaction. That didn’t worry him. His childhood had trained him to hide his feelings well. The question was how was he going to glean more information than he gave?

“911, what’s your emergency?” the dispatcher said.

“There’s a girl,” a woman said, choking back tears. “She needs help.”

“Is she there with you?”

“No, no, oh God help me. I left her out there.”

“Left here where, ma’am?”

“In the desert. She was dying and I . . .I just left her there. You have to understand! She was already dying. There was nothing I could have done. It was hours ago. She’s dead by now anyway.”

Meadows leaned toward Atticus. Morales seemed to stop breathing, but who can tell with a Gila monster?

Then came the sound of five quick thwacks that sounded like the receiver was being banged against something while the woman repeated “fuck” over and over.

“Listen, ma’am,” the dispatcher said, “you need to calm down and tell me who you are, where you are, and where the girl is. We can send people to give you whatever help you need.”

The woman was suddenly back, her voice tight and venomous. “You can send me whatever help I need? That’s so wonderful. Can you send someone who can tell me how to get my soul back?”

“Ma’am, I–“

“It’s a very simple fucking question! Can you send me someone who can help me get my fucking soul back, or can’t you?”

“Ma’am, you need to calm–“

“GOD HELP ME!” the woman shrieked.

There was banging again, but this sounded different, not something hard against something hard, but soft against hard. The woman’s crying grew fainter, along with the sound of footsteps walking away, and then came the roar of a car engine and the squeal of tires. The tape ended.

“What was that at the end there?” Atticus asked. He hadn’t recognized the voice or had a clue what was going on, which was good, for him at least. For that woman and that girl, the moon was closer than good.

Morales and Meadows glanced at each other. Morales shrugged. Meadows said, “She was calling from one of those three-quarter phone booths. We’ve got a witness who said she went crazy at the end, banging the plastic with her fists, palms, elbows, her head, everything. Then she staggered away crying, got into a car, and drove away.”

“Was she alone?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know what girl she was talking about?”

“The question is, Atticus, do you?”

“Not a clue.”

“When was the last time you saw Clarice Rousseau?”

Atticus blinked, paused, blurted too late, “About two hours ago.”

Morales tilted his head, his brow furrowing, a caricature of confusion.

Meadows leaned forward and said, “Took you awhile to remember. Weird, isn’t it?”

So much for not giving anything away, Atticus thought. Damn. He had been foolish to think he could spring a trap laid by professionals, snatch the bait, and spring away unscathed. Now they had him on the ropes, and the way to get off them was by swinging. “I wasn’t remembering. Just found it quite a coincidence that you would ask about her right after the first time I’ve seen her in years. You were following her, huh? Then you followed me. The timing’s about right. You ran my license, pulled my files, and then decided to drag me in here. But you came to see me alone, Detective. Isn’t that a break with your beloved regulations?”

Meadows’s blue eyes were almost as unreadable as his sunglasses were. “Was your meeting with Claire planned?”

“My lawyer said she wanted to see me. I met her there.”

“Why did she want to see you so bad?”

“Claire didn’t really want to see me,” Atticus said, skating the rim of a lie. “She was just hoping I would clean up her mess like I used to.”

“Mess?” Meadows asked.

“She said you guys think she killed her boyfriend, and the Tijuana Cartel thinks she has the drug money her boyfriend supposedly had.”

When the detectives heard “drug money”, their gazes sharpened. Atticus couldn’t tell if he had surprised them or confirmed something they suspected.

“How much money?” Meadows asked.

“You guys don’t know?” Silent stone cop faces was the reply, so Atticus said, “Don’t know. Way she talked, it sounded like a lot.”

“Why come to you?”

“We dated in college. Maybe she thought I was still carrying a torch for her and would be eager to help her out.”

“Will you?” Meadows was poking around, feeling out whether Atticus was a broken-hearted puppet awaiting the return of his puppeteer, a pathetic man who would murder on command for a lover who’d scorned him.

Atticus shook his head. “Seeing her was the best thing that could have happened to me. Now I know I’ve moved on. I don’t wish her any ill, but she’s on her own.”

Meadows’s expression told Atticus that the last line sold it–the jilted lover taking a smidgen of pleasure in his ex’s pain, but not enough to be suspected of being the cause of it. Pettiness can be useful.

“Do you know a Steven Delacroix from Morgan City, Louisiana?”

“No, but I know he’s the victim,” Atticus said. Claire was from Morgan City, but she had never mentioned Delacroix back when she and Atticus were together.

Meadows and Morales eyed him expectantly. When you’re innocent, they expect you to proclaim it loudly and passionately, to anyone who will listen, but to Atticus that felt like begging, and begging he would never, ever do. But show emotion? That he could do, just by cracking open the bottle he kept it in. Instead, he stared into the space between the detectives, keeping his face pleasant and quizzical, knowing that few could bear a charged silence like the detectives had created. Atticus let the moment stretch.

What were the detectives really up to? Too many things from the moment Meadows stopped him in his driveway didn’t make sense. They were too loose with information without knowing what he knew. Like they needed him to know certain things. Could the interrogation be a ruse? If so, why? What did the girl and woman on the tape have to do with the murder of Claire’s boyfriend and the missing drug money?

Atticus knew that despite what primetime TV might say, cops never turn to civilians looking for Sherlock Holmesian feats of investigation. They use civilians as informants, willing or unwilling, knowing or unknowing, pawns pushed into battle with knights, bishops, rooks, and queens. As for the fate of the pawn, that’s on him. It’s a blame-the-victim world.

Books 4 for Patricia copy

REVIEW

The Black Song Inside is a vivid crime thriller rife with murder and madness, melded with gallows humor and the heroism of two flawed and compelling protagonists who, if they can save themselves, may learn the nature of redemption and the ability to forgive. 

A weather piece of parchment, Beyond here lie Monsters . . . is this the beginning, or the end? Bartollo Aguilar, The Priest of The Church of the Aloned. A child soldier, an enforcer, a dark and terrifying being. Ultimately, a glimpse of reverse evolution, knuckle walking away.

Atticus and Rosemary are an unlikely pair but meshed deeply in love. Each carries the trauma of a past that has left them categorically damaged but in different ways. They will challenge each other to conquer their terrors. She helps him quiet the black song. Rosemary knowing “If you want everything, you have to give everything.”

The Tijuana Drug Cartel and the corrupt cops, or are they? Families estranged by secrets, and Atticus involved in a murder case by his ex’s machinations. Atticus is compelled to investigate by his intrinsic knowledge of what is right and what is not. Young girls in danger? A contract for murder?

The Black Song Inside by Carlyle Clark will lead you from page to page, asking repeatedly what will be reveal. This book gives you histories revealed, mysteries solved, criminals captured or killed. An outstanding novel! I give Carlyle Clark 3D 5 Gold Stars

3DThe Black Song Inside HB

BIO:

White ShirtCarlyle Clark was raised in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, but is now a proud Chicagolander working in the field of Corporate Security and writing crime and fantasy fiction. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writer’s requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.

He is a married man with two cats and a dog. He is also a martial arts enthusiast and a CrossFit endurer who enjoys fishing, sports, movies, TV series with continuing storylines, and of course, reading. Most inconsequentially, he holds the unrecognized distinction of being one of the few people in the world who have been paid to watch concrete dry in the dark. Tragically, that is a true statement.

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Rae, Nikita: Winter

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Title: Winter
Author: Nikita Rae
Genre: New Adult Suspense Thriller
Expected Release Date: November 25th, 2013
Reveal Host: Lady Amber’s Tours
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Synopsis:

WinterNew Adult Suspense Thriller From Debut Author Nikita Rae

A girl with a dark history…

Iris Breslin took a leap of faith when she changed her name. As Avery Patterson, she is no longer the daughter of a serial killer. No longer the girl who was bullied and abused through high school. A fresh name and a fresh start at Columbia University means Avery can leave all that behind. There’s only one thing marring her dream of a clean slate….

A boy with a past of his own…

Luke Reid has a lot going for him: sex appeal, badass tattoos and insane musical talent. Despite his guitar skills, his calling in life has always been to serve and protect. A NYPD cop by day, singer in rock band D.M.F by night, from the outside Luke seems like he’s got it made. But falling hard for a girl whose father was accused of deeply sinister acts—a man whom Luke shares a devastating history with, himself—only serves to complicated things.

Pieces of a puzzle….

Four symbols, four methods of destruction.

A trade.

Borrowed wings.

Dark secrets that threaten to destroy.

Winter is a full length novel, the first in the Four Seasons series. The next installment will be available for purchase early 2014. 

Winter Excerpt

 

Books 4 for Patricia copy

 

Author Bio:

Nikita Rae resides in fair Kingston, Ontario, with her husband and three year old son. She began writing at an early age, and has been honing her skills ever since. She is a passionate figure skater and loves cold weather– a good thing since her home town is buried under snow for half the year! When she’s not penning sexy suspense novels, Nikita can also be found enjoying a glass of red and watching Hell On Wheels. Winter is her debut novel.

Links:

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Mae, Mandee: A New Face to Love

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Title: A New Face to Love

Author: Mandee Mae

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Day: November 18, 2013

Hosted by: A Dirty Book Affair

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Purchase Links

Purchase links haven’t been made available as of the time of this blog.

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Synopsis

Jamie is filled with heartache from her past. She tries to move on, but her heart never completely heals.

She’s shaken to her core when a brief encounter has her feeling things she thought she’d lost. Should she take a chance on her sexy friend who might want more than just friendship or does she finally discover who this unknown man is and what exactly it is that he wants?

Follow Jamie as she discovers her friend’s true feelings for her and the decision she is forced to make when she finally discovers who the stranger really is. The decision is one that will change her life forever.

11497598-vintage-elements-and-borders-set-for-ornate-and-decoration (1)Excerpt

“Yes, I was supposed to be out of town all weekend. I wasn’t due back until tomorrow evening.”

I sit back on the couch, leaning against the arm rest, facing him so I can watch him when he talks. “Okay, so why are you back? You haven’t answered my other question yet either. Why were you at my house?”

He raises my legs and scoots back on the couch, laying my legs across his lap and starts rubbing, back and forth, up to my knees and back down to my ankles. “Do you want the honest truth or what I think you want to hear?”

Duh! “Honesty, Caleb, always honesty.” I tilt my head sideways, trying to figure out what he is about to tell me.

He turns his head and looks me square in the eyes. “I came back because I saw there was a bad storm getting ready to hit.” Rubs up, then down. “I came back because I know you are terrified of storms.” Rubs up, then down “I came back because I missed you. I came back because during the last two years, I have always been with you during a storm. I went to your house to stay with you, but when I drove up and saw that tree had fallen through your living room, it scared the hell out of me and I had to make sure you were alright.”

There’s something else in his eyes. Something he’s not telling me, but I’m not going to push him on the issue. I haven’t seen that look on his face before and I don’t know what to think about it.

“Thank you, Caleb. Thank you for always being there for me, for always knowing what I need and when I need it. I don’t know what I would do without you in my life.” And I don’t.

In the last two years, he’s done more for me than any other man. I pull my legs away from him and get up on my knees and scoot over next to him and wrap my arms around his neck. He brings his arms around me, pulling me in closer, causing me to fall forward landing on his lap. I have my face buried in the crook of his neck and his in mine. We just sit there, holding each other while the storm goes on around us. Something has changed in Caleb, but having him hold me like this feels good. It feels right. As soon as I think that I have a feeling of guilt wash over me. Gerrit.

11497598-vintage-elements-and-borders-set-for-ornate-and-decoration (1)About the Author

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Mandee resides in Illinois. She is a wife and mother of two. She has just started in the writing world within the last year. Her husband and children encouraged her to take that leap of faith and start writing. She writes Adult Romance stories, for now. She loves spending time with her family and friends. Mandee loves to spend a great deal of time outdoors in the summer. In the winter she likes to curl up with good book, or a computer planning her next book adventure.

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Prand, Jill: Walk Into Me, The Walking Series Book 2

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Expected date of release: December 2, 2013
 
I know I will never get over her. Watching her walk away with him ripped my heart out and left it bleeding on the floor. But I can’t hide anymore. I have to face my life without her.
Brad has been in love with Lisa for as long as he can remember. One night years ago they took each other’s virginity but while it was the best night of Brad’s life, for Lisa it was a way to forget about Bobby. Or was it?
Brad re-emerges right when Lisa needs him most. Only Brad knows everything about her and when Lisa’s insecurities come to the surface the shoulder Lisa needs is Brad’s. Now Brad has to decide if he has it in him to trust his heart.
 
 
I walk through the door into the crowded house, looks like the gangs all here and then some.  I look around and see all my friends but the person who sees me first is her mom, “Brad! So good to see you,” she hugs me, “Lisa will be so glad you’re here. She’s missed you.”
I don’t know what to say to that. I know that Lisa loves me like a brother but I want so much more with her, “I’ve missed her too.” It’s the truth, staying away has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I even took the boat over to Fire Island for a couple of weeks hiding out at my sister’s summer house. She was not happy about that until I started to fix the outside shower. Now she tells me I can use it anytime I want as long as I fix something each time I’m there. Her husband can’t fix shit, damn Ivy League pretty boy.
I turn back toward the party and suddenly Lisa is in my arms kissing my cheek and holding me tight, “Don’t do that again,” she tells me. “I missed you too much.” She is running her hands over my shoulders and through my hair and if I don’t get her off me soon she will know exactly how much I missed her.
I release her and put my hand in the pocket of my jacket, “Happy Birthday Lisa,” I pull out her gift and hand it to her. She smiles up at me but keeps her hand on my arm like she doesn’t want to let me go. Maybe she does feel more than friendship towards me.  I look into her eyes and hope she can’t see how much I want her.
She looks down at the box in her hand then back up to me, “Do you want me to open this now?”
I want to see her reaction but I don’t want an audience, “No later, after the party.”
“Does that mean you will stay ‘til everyone leaves?” her smile widens.
“If you want me to,” I can’t say no to her, I never could.
Then he comes up behind her pulling her back to him and extending his hand to me, “Brad, good to see you.”
 
I know he is staking his claim but he doesn’t have to remind me that Lisa is not mine. I have known that for a long time, “Bobby,” I can’t bring myself to say more than his name. I really want to yell at him to get his hands off of her but he has every right to touch her. She is his.
 
There’s still time to read book one of the series:
Watch for it on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple!
 
 
 

I live in Northern New Jersey. I am a wife and mother of two girls. 

I have been an avid reader my whole life, I cannot remember a Sunday afternoon that did not include my parents reading. We had a huge bookshelf in our den with a diverse set of authors like Ayn Rand, Stephen King, Mario Puzo & Danielle Steele. 

I have always had ideas and characters running around my head but it took a few good friends to push me to start putting them down on paper. 

I hope you enjoy my musings. Please feel free to contact me I would love to hear from you.

 

Capizzi, Roberta: The Melody in Our Hearts

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Synopsis

Doctor Valerie Fogarty studied hard to become a competent surgeon, but losing a patient during an operation made her throw everything out the window and now she can’t set foot into an operating room anymore. Until her best friend Ryan is brought into the ER on a stretcher, fighting for his life after a terrible car accident and she’s the only one who can save him. Meeting him as a teenager in their hometown in Ireland was the turning point in her life and she knows she will never be able to live without him. Will her determination and skills be enough to save Ryan’s life?

Jazz Star Ryan Wyler grew up in Dublin, with a dream of becoming a professional pianist and continuing the legacy of his musical hero, Frank Sinatra. When opportunity knocks and he’s offered the chance to pursue a real music career, he’s happy to accept it, unaware that what he’s actually accepting is a package deal he will have no control over. But when success keeps him away from Valerie, his best friend since adolescence, Ryan will have to question his choices.

A story about the value of true friendship, the power of dreams, and the unpredictability of love.

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Meet the Author

An avid reader since her childhood years and being an only child, Roberta always enjoyed the company of her fictional friends from the children’s books she loved reading, while she dreamed of writing her own stories one day.

It was when she discovered novels by authors Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy in her teenage years that she realized it was time she put down in words the stories she had kept well hidden in her mind until then.

What started as a hobby, soon turned into a real passion and a way of life, until she could no longer keep the stories to herself, and decided to get over her fears and share them with the world.

Roberta lives in Italy, but her dream is to move out of her country and live either in a thatched cottage in the Irish countryside or in a country house with a swing on the back porch, somewhere in the United States, where she would love to spend her days writing novels as a full-time job, and maybe one day even get as far as writing a screenplay for a movie.

Exclusive

Ryan had just picked up his coat when his phone started ringing. He smiled when he saw ‘Val’ flash on the display.

“Hey, you’re awake! I thought I’d have to break down your door to wake you up.”

Valerie giggled, although it didn’t sound as happy as it normally did. Maybe it was just because she’d slept all day and after her double shift and was still a little groggy.

“I got a phone call from the hospital. I have to work tonight.” she said in a sad tone. Ryan snorted. “The doctor on duty had an emergency at home and called to say he wouldn’t be able to go to work. I was on call, so they asked me to fill in for him. I’m sorry, Ryan.”

“Couldn’t you say you had a prior engagement or something? Call in sick, maybe?”

“Ryan, you know I can’t do that. I told you I’d be on call tonight.”

“But I haven’t seen you in over two months and I was really looking forward to telling you everything about the tour.”

“I know; I really wanted to spend some time with you too.”

Ryan let out a sigh and slumped down on his bed. Why couldn’t she have a normal nine-to-five office job that wouldn’t interfere with their dinner plans?

“Right, okay. I’ll cancel the reservation at the restaurant and have a microwave dinner all by myself.” Ryan said in a huff. Valerie chuckled. “I hope you feel guilty for ditching me like this, Doc.”

“I do. I feel awful but I’ll make it up to you, buddy.”

They said goodbye and after he hung up, he let out an annoyed sigh. He opened the freezer and took out microwave cheese macaroni, stared at the plastic box and put it back in; eating on his couch by himself sounded quite depressing right now.

He put on his coat and decided to surprise his girlfriend; he’d been looking forward to spending the evening chatting with Valerie after being away on tour for over two months, but since she wasn’t available, his girlfriend would do.

He stopped with his hand on the door handle when he realized the thought that had just crossed his mind. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t his girlfriend come first and his best friend immediately after? He shrugged. Jennifer had spent time with him during the tour; they’d met in Paris and she’d gone to London with him, too. It was only fair that Valerie would be his priority now.

While he was in the car, he thought about stopping at the hospital before going home to bring Valerie a cup of White Mocha and a muffin; he was sure it’d cheer her up and, if she wasn’t busy, maybe they’d manage to chat for a while. He’d missed her so much and he’d found himself wishing more than once that she could tour with him.

A weird sense of guilt hit him as soon as the thought formed. He had a girlfriend and he was supposed to wish she was the one following him on tour, not his best friend. But then again, what he felt for Valerie was totally innocent and different from what he felt for Jennifer; with Valerie he could be himself, the real Ryan from Dublin and he could talk about anything with her without ever being afraid of speaking his mind. When he was with Jennifer he was Ryan Wyler, the jazz star from Boston; it was all about his career and his name. He couldn’t deny that he and Jennifer had some great fun time together, but he’d started to doubt there was much more to their relationship outside the bed.

It was lame but if he had to be honest with himself, he’d stuck with her because her job took her away as often as his did, so he had a lot of free time to spend with Valerie. Jennifer had never really liked the idea of his best friend being a woman, but she’d never forbid him from seeing her; he wasn’t sure another girlfriend would’ve been so open-minded. Besides, he didn’t really need a girlfriend he could talk to; he had Valerie for that, so it was fine with him if all Jennifer wanted was some fun between the sheets. He was still young and not ready to settle down anyway.

He parked the car close to Jennifer’s apartment and ran in the rain toward the front door of the building. An elderly couple was walking out and held the door open for him, so he didn’t need to buzz. As he stood in front of her door, waiting for her to open up, he wondered whether he should’ve called first. He usually did, but this time he’d decided to surprise her. He ended up being the surprised one when she opened the door in a silk dressing gown, her face flushed and her hair disheveled.

“Ryan? I thought you said you’d be out with your friend tonight?” she asked in a surprised tone. Okay, that wasn’t exactly the kind of welcome he’d expected. He shifted his weight to his right foot and tucked his hands in the pockets of his coat.

“She had to work so I thought we could go out somewhere, have dinner together.”

Had her face just turned pale or was he imagining things? She fidgeted with the belt of her dressing gown, one he was sure he’d never seen before, and he wondered if that was a subtle way of telling him she wanted to stay at home. Not that he would mind, especially since it was pouring outside. He took a step forward and put his hands on her waist.

“Unless you have other plans that don’t include going out.”

She stiffened at his touch and he wondered what was going on. She’d never been the one to shy away from his touch; it was actually she who always started it all. He moved in to kiss her neck and froze when he smelled cologne on her skin.

Cologne?

He pulled back and stared questioningly at her; she didn’t meet his eyes and he suddenly understood the reason why she was so flushed and disheveled.

“Are you alone?” he asked straight out, knowing that beating around the bush would be useless. He’d suspected something in the past but this time he was damn sure she was hiding something.

“Ryan, listen. I can… I can explain.”

“You can explain why your skin smells like cologne? Go ahead, I’m all ears.”

He took another step forward but she didn’t move aside to let him in, so he was standing only inches away from her. Somehow this annoyed him even further.

“You said you wouldn’t be around tonight so I… um… I had a meeting. For work. The cologne… it must have lingered when we kissed goodbye. On the cheeks, of course.”

Ryan arched an eyebrow. “Seriously, Jen; do you think I’m that stupid?” She swallowed hard and looked at her hands, still fidgeting with her belt. “Is he still here? Where is he? Your bedroom, maybe?”

He pushed her aside and stepped into the apartment. She grabbed his arm to stop him but he pushed her away, taking big strides toward her bedroom. When he yanked the door open, he froze when he saw her manager, her fifty-year-old manager, flinch in her bed. What a cliché.

Jennifer reached him and tugged on his arm, making him turn around to look at her.

“Ryan, please. Let me explain.”

“How long has this been going on?” he asked through gritted teeth. “Have you been sleeping with that man and with me?”

“It’s not like that. It’s…”

“Not like that? Try and find a good excuse now to explain why your manager is naked in your bed and you’re wearing nothing underneath that dressing gown.”

He felt sick to his stomach at the thought of having shared her with that disgusting old pervert. This was the very last straw. He’d turned a blind eye before, he’d forgiven her and believed her stupid excuses but this was it.

“Actually, don’t even bother. Go back to your buddy; we’re through.”

He spun and walked back toward the front door; she stopped him again, her perfectly manicured nails digging into the skin of his arm.

“I’m done with your lies. It’s over. You’re officially free to sleep with whomever you want; I don’t care.”

He yanked his arm free and ran down the flight of stairs, knowing she wouldn’t follow him. God, he’d been so stupid he wanted to kick himself. How had he ever let it get this far.

By the time he got back into his car his hair was soaked but he didn’t care. All he wanted to do was see Valerie. He knew she was the only one who’d manage to put his mind at ease. Kevin was in New York for a seminar and he didn’t want to talk about it over the phone. Valerie would help him make sense of this once and for all.

He should’ve known all Jennifer had ever wanted was to be seen with America’s jazz star, just so her chances of being seen by a TV producer would improve and maybe she’d manage to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress. That was what their relationship had always been about; he’d even come to suspect their chance meeting at that party in Las Vegas hadn’t been by chance at all. He wouldn’t be surprised to find out his manager was behind it; he’d always done his best to make sure Ryan was constantly on the front cover of magazines.

The rain had started falling harder and it was now coming down in sheets; even with the windscreen wipers of his BMW at full speed he could barely make out the road. He stopped at a red traffic light and smacked his hand hard on the steering wheel, cursing himself for being such a fool. Why should it bother him so much, though? After all, he’d never really loved Jennifer; he found her attractive but that was all there was. He’d never considered spending the rest of his life with her, so he should be happy it was over now. It was knowing she’d cheated on him that stung, though.

The light changed to green and he pressed down on the accelerator, feeling the need of seeing Valerie grow more intense. He was sure there was a Starbucks somewhere around here so he looked around trying to spot it. He needed a strong coffee now and he was sure Valerie would love a cup of White Mocha while he told her what an idiot he’d been. He squinted through the rain, cursing because he couldn’t see a thing. Where the hell was the damn coffee shop?

He turned his eyes back to the road and saw the road work signs a second too late. He swerved swiftly and pushed hard on the brake, trying to avoid the hurdles and bring the car back on the track. The wheels lost grip on the wet asphalt and when the left one hit a pothole, he lost control and the car started spinning until it stopped, crashing against a wall.

His last thought before the world went black was of Valerie.

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