21 February 2017

AMNIWAR Release Blitz @authoradamreese @thebookgardenpr

 Amniwar

by Adam Reese

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Genre: Science Fiction Suspense
Series: Amniwar Trilogy, Book One
Publication Date: February 21, 2017

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Humans are in danger of extinction due to the multiple world wars that have progressively shaken the fabric of society. The government discovers a leak, leading them to a Navy Captain’s son, Aaron Lambright. Their desperate actions to bring silence to the secret Aaron holds is only the beginning of a sinister plot to bring the nation kneeling before tyranny.

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MEET THE AUTHOR

IMG_5524Adam Reese

Adam Reese is an erotic horror author from Georgia. He is the creative mind behind the “Triple D Series” and currently creates book teaser trailers. His academics stemmed from the Art Institute of Atlanta, where he studied Audio and Film Production. For twelve years, he has written imaginative stories from science fiction, fantasy, and horror. 

12 January 2017

Game Winning Catch Release Blitz @roxysinclaire @thebookgardenpr

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game-winning-catchGame Winning Catch by Roxy Sinclaire

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Sports Romance
Publication Date: January 11, 2017

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I don’t play dirty, I play to win.
“The more innocent a girl looks, the wilder she is in bed … and that goes double for Natalie”
I went to see my childhood idol but instead I saw the girl I could never forget. People always say there’s always one that got away, and for me that was Natalie. We spent one amazing summer together but then I never saw her again … until now.
“Good girls love bad boys always seemed like such a cliche saying to me.”
From the moment I saw him on my doorstep I knew I was his, whether I wanted to or not. Our time together was sinfully sweet but also short, as we both knew it had to come to an end. Only for me, it was just the beginning, as after Chris left I found out I’m pregnant with his child. Full-length romance novel. This is a standalone, with NO cliffhanger, NO cheating & a guaranteed happy ending!

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17 April 2016

Hell on the Heart Release Blitz @RomanceWithBite @thebookgardenpr

Hell on the Heart

by Hope Daniels and Alicia Dawn

Magical Forces Series #2

(can be read as a standalone)

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Publication Date: April 15, 2016

Genre: Paranormal Romance

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Everyone has them.

Everyone keeps them for various reasons.

As a witch with power over water, Anna wants her secrets to stay in the past where they belong. All she desires is to enjoy the present, but what she thought was buried long ago, has found a nasty way of coming back to bite her.

So hold on tight. Not only is her big bad secret back, but it’s hungry and Anna looks like the perfect entree for dinner.

Pete has secrets of his own. As a Djinn, he is skilled and powerful enough to cajole Anna to tell him hers, although he knows he may have to confess up some of his own deep dark nightmares. When she learns his secrets will she still look at him the same way? Or will she take a chance on what could be? Not that it matters. Pete isn’t ready to let her go. She is his soul mate whether she is ready to admit it or not. He will make her realize they are meant to be together, even if he has to follow her to hell to do so.

Will their secrets destroy what they could be before they have the chance to begin?

Teasers

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Excerpt

Tessa owed her big time, and if she didn’t pay up the next time she wanted help ratting her hair she was going to get help alright. Of all the things her friend asked her to do, bring lunch to Pete, of all people…she didn’t know whether she wanted to jump him or kill him from one moment to the next.

Annabeth still hadn’t forgiven him for dunking her in the river a few months back when he, Ryan, J.T. and Newt had helped rescue them from a demon, which had been lead by a group of witch hunters. She had been mad at Pete for snapping one of the asshole’s neck right in front of her, ending his existence permanently. After she had time to think about it, she understood Billy would never have made amends for his actions and was destined to repeat them over and over again. But when the big, tattooed, terrific-smelling Pete dumped her into the river, well that was the last straw.

Now here she stood, glaring down, wanting nothing more than to smack him over the head with the basket of food she’d brought as a favor to Tessa.

“You’d know all about that, wouldn’t you? You’re just a regular ole carpenter bee this time round, aren’t you.”

She knew she was being a bitch, but just couldn’t seem to help herself. He was a pushy, arrogant, self-centered alpha male. Top it with looks to make your mouth water, a chest a mile wide she’d love to trace with her tongue.

“Here’s your lunch.” She all but threw it at him. The slight grunt that came from him when it hit his chest wiped the smug know-it-all look off his face. Until he started going through the basket, pulling out the food. She’d never heard a man make such happy noises like he was.

“Thank ye kindly, little witch.” Squinting up at her, he popped a grape into his mouth. She couldn’t help but notice the way his full lips moved. Gods, what was wrong with her? This man was arrogant. Despite being covered in sexy tan skin, which only made her want to touch every inch and then some, Pete had a knack of saying smart assed remarks to pissed her off and make her want to smack him.

“Don’t know how it is you sweet talked Tessa into feeding you. She has enough on her plate. Just be happy I was in the neighborhood or you’d be starving.” Any normal man would thank you, but no, not Pete; he just kept shoving food into his mouth.

“I didn’t mean to put anyone out. Tessa knows she doesn’t have to bring me food every day.” He gave her one of his slow winks. “Just every other day. Course, if it was you bringing my poor hapless stomach food, I’d expect twice a day.”

She snorted. The man was incorrigible.

“You’d starve then, because there is no way I’d bring you anything.” Hands on her hips she wondered why she was even arguing with him. There were things she needed to finish today and standing here trading barbs with him was not on her list.

“You’re breaking my heart, sweetness. You really are. Denying a man the pleasure of food is a felony.” He nodded his head as if what he was saying was the god’s honest truth. “To say your beautiful self wouldn’t bring me food, well now I’m truly hurt.” He was in full charm mode. The honey-coated words flowing from his mouth would more than cover the homemade roll he was chewing on.

“Aww, well then maybe I should do something to ease your pain.” The hungry look in his eye made her heart beat faster, but she knew the type and wanted nothing to do with him. To drill that idea home, she snapped her fingers and a pail of water spilled over his head and his lunch. “Feel better? Wouldn’t want you to have heat stroke would we?” She snagged one of the dill pickles from the basket and started laughing.

 


About the Authors

Hope Daniels

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Hope

Hope grew up in a small resort area in Michigan where she and her husband still live today. As the third child of four, she had an exhaustive imagination. From straddling the back porch railing as a wild cowgirl to saving the world as Wonder Woman complete with a set of homemade bullet stopping bracelets, she was always taking what she read and making it as real as she could.

Finding her a true comrade in Alicia Dawn, Hope forged on an adventure in Role Playing that continued to feed her imagination till it became a living thing. With Alicia’s encouragement, they turned their friendship into a writing partnership that will last well beyond the Magical Forces series.

The mother of two daughters, she has always tried to instill the love of reading into their lives. With a year old grandson, she will continue to instill the love of reading into his life by sharing treasured stories.

Alicia Dawn

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Alicia

Hope grew up in a small resort area in Michigan where she and her husband still live today. As the third child of four, she had an exhaustive imagination. From straddling the back porch railing as a wild cowgirl to saving the world as Wonder Woman complete with a set of homemade bullet stopping bracelets, she was always taking what she read and making it as real as she could.

Finding her a true comrade in Alicia Dawn, Hope forged on an adventure in Role Playing that continued to feed her imagination till it became a living thing. With Alicia’s encouragement, they turned their friendship into a writing partnership that will last well beyond the Magical Forces series.

The mother of two daughters, she has always tried to instill the love of reading into their lives. With a year old grandson, she will continue to instill the love of reading into his life by sharing treasured stories.


 

 

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7 April 2016

Burn This Blog Tour @RomanceWithBite @thebookgardenpr

Burn This

By Tasha Black

Series: 300 Moons (*can be read as a standalone)

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Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

Publication Date: March 7, 2016

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2. Burn This

A bad boy rock star with a debt to pay.

A no-nonsense nurse with her eye on the prize.

A touch of full moon magic.

Put them together and the result is so hot it might just set your eReader on fire!

A brand new series of standalones from USA Today bestselling author Tasha Black.

Johnny’s 300th moon is here.

Will he deny the fire inside him long enough to lose it? Or will he give in to his passions and give up his only chance at control?

Praise for Burn This! 5 Star rating on Amazon

“Burn This!” is the fantastic 2nd book in the new series, “300 Moons”! I don’t know how, but each new book by this author somehow tops the one before! Contemporary fiction with a fresh story-line and well developed characters, entertaining dialogue and some hot & steamy scenes that will keep the reader engaged & the pages turning!- Deb Loves2read

This is why I say Ms. Black has the Golden Touch, yep she did it again. This is the second book of A 300 Moons Series. I love it. If you thought book one was good oh my gosh book 2 is phenomenal. – Ingrid Stephanie Jordan

Another grand slam for Tasha! I could not put this book down! Wonderfully developed characters, which is an absolute MUST for me! Plenty of plot twists, beautifully described scenery! – Angel33eyes

 


 

EXCERPT

In this scene, Johnny has just performed in front of an audience of 40,000 screaming fans. At the end of the performance there was a pyrotechnic accident that should have killed him, but the fire didn’t harm him (because of the type of shifter he is). He’s just arrived at an after party and he’s trying to escape the wrong kind of questions…

It was time to get his mind straight and play rock star for a little while.

Before the wrong person could approach him and start asking about the fire, he scanned the room.

In the sea of punk and goth, his eye was drawn to the light brown hair of a sweet young thing perching on the edge of a couch, clutching the neck of a hard lemonade. On closer inspection, he could see that she had a ton of eye make-up and even a tiny nose ring. But she was about as close to normal as he was going to find in here, and normal was what he was after on a night like this one.

He pointed at her and nodded toward the bedroom.

In this moment, he often wished his intended fuck would give him a little trouble. Shake her head no, or pretend not to understand.

But they always understood. And they always said yes.

This one was no different. Just like that, she practically leaped up, spilling her friend’s drink in the process.

The friend yelped a perfect C and Johnny eyed her up. Not bad – dyed black hair like the chick from every nineties movie, long legs.

Should he indulge himself with both?

A voice in his head instantly said, no. Not tonight. He didn’t feel like sharing.

Minutes later they were alone in his room.

The room itself was simple: beige carpet, beige walls, beige ceiling. But the view was spectacular.

Panoramic windows laid the stars at the girl’s feet.

He watched as she scanned the room.

She didn’t even notice the view.

The movement of her head stopped to take in the location of the bed, and paused again before the floor length mirror.

She turned to him, but at the last moment couldn’t look up into his eyes.

The same. They were all the same.

He could tell her he loved fishing and she would proclaim to love it too.

He could tell her he hated dolphins and she would promise to dedicate her life to polluting the oceans.

She would reflect back whatever he tossed to her like it was a goddamned acting exercise.

And it was because she wasn’t here, not really.

She was already deep in her own head, taking notes, crafting the narrative, for her diary and her best friend. And when he reminded her to come back to him in the present, she would only be sucking in her stomach and trying to catch a glimpse of the two of them in the mirror. Exerting herself to provide a sexual encounter that might make him remember her, and worrying about how to ask him for a selfie when it was done so she’d have proof.

For her, the good part wouldn’t be until it was over, until it had really happened and she hadn’t fucked it up. She didn’t know that, but Johnny did.

It was this type of knowledge that sometimes made him miss picking up chicks after a gig as the lead singer of a nobody cover band. At least it was a challenge. At least they had to actually find him appealing. At least they demanded satisfaction for themselves.

What the hell was wrong with him tonight?

He had been silent too long now, and the girl found the courage to look up.

Her eyes were a light hazel.

Was it him, or was there a sweetness to her that he hadn’t noticed before?

She studied him as if trying to determine what he might want.

“You, baby, I want what you have,” he murmured to her, answering the question she hadn’t voiced.

“It’s yours, whatever you want,” she whispered immediately, flowing into his arms.

She felt good, if a little slim for his taste. And if she looked innocent it was only happenstance. Her hands were already sliding down to his belt buckle.

He spun her against a wall and pinned those sneaky hands up, caging her head between his arms so he could look into her eyes again.

She gazed up at him, it was meant to be a sexy look but he found it adorable.

Instead of releasing her hands and letting her go back to the pursuit of his ever ready cock, he leaned down to nuzzle at her breasts.

She froze under the unexpected attention.

God, he could smell that hot female scent on her through the perfume.

Suddenly his hands were on her hips.

And instead of her at his knees, he was at hers.

She trembled in his hold.

They were off-script and she knew it.

Suddenly she was there, really present, waiting to see what he would do next.

The authenticity excited him and he had to remind himself to be gentle as he worked her jeans down to reveal the tiny silken scrap of her underwear.

Her scent was thick in the air now.

He lowered his nose to her and inhaled.

Her intake of breath echoed in his ears.

The sound unhinged him and he wrenched her jeans down to her ankles, his desire too similar to rage.

He pressed his tongue against her, lapping at her sex through the triangle of satin.

She cried out and her hands were in his hair.

Something awoke inside him.

Suddenly, he was lifting her up, carrying her to the bed.

She kicked off her jeans and lay before him, her legs spread slightly. Enough for him to see she wanted to spread them wide for him. Her hair was tousled, her eyes wide.

She reached her arms out to him.

The room clicked into focus for him.

She was beautiful, not just pretty. How had he not noticed this before?

The softness of her hair echoed through the perfect roundness of her breasts, and he forgave her the concave belly because soon he would swell it with his child.

He saw her pregnant, nursing a dark haired baby, her face softened by the candlelight of anniversary dinners, wrinkled by happy years.

He had only to claim her.

Scales slid sinuously in his head, drawn to her heat.

No.

Fuck, no, no, no.

But the instant he fought it, his arm started burning again.

The angel in his bed asked what was the matter and he heard every hidden harmonic in her voice as if the sound were a rainbow.

Get out!” he bellowed, his head in his hands.

“I’m sorry, baby, I didn’t mean to upset you,” she whispered, approaching him timidly.

“Get. Out.”

He held his breath and averted his eyes until he heard the door click shut behind her.

He opened his eyes.

The room was the same.

He glanced in the mirror.

He was still Johnny Lazarus.

But just below the surface, something that wasn’t Johnny seethed and coiled.

 

3. I need something

2. Self-indulgent jerk

 


Tasha picTasha Black

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Tasha Black is a USA Today bestselling author of Paranormal and SciFi romance. She lives in a big old Victorian in a tiny college town. She loves reading anything she can get her hands on, making up stories, and sipping pumpkin spice lattes. |

Claim your FREE Tasha Black Starter Library at www.TashaBlack.com

Plus you’ll get the chance for sneak peeks of upcoming titles and other cool stuff!

 

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31 March 2016

The Fiction of Forever Blog Tour @brinda_berry @thebookgardenpr

The Fiction of Forever

by Brinda Berry

Series: Stand by Me #2 (Can be read as a standalone)

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Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: January 18, 2016

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FoF425x637Kiley Vanderbilt wasn’t just fuel for Gunner’s teenage dreams about the curvy pageant queen. She was the one who got away.

Until now.

When Gunner returns to Nashville, his high school fantasy in heels challenges him to accept a spot on the dating reality show Forever. And although she’s the show hostess and off-limits, he’s going to prove once and for all that she wants more.

But when Kiley–untouchable, jeans-tightening Kiley–proclaims she’s unwilling to compromise the show’s integrity, he vows to throw a twist of his own into her behind-the-scenes plotting. That’s going way, way off Kiley’s script.

Giving in to Gunner would torpedo her plans to prove to her manipulating ex-fiancé and her producer daddy that she has more on her shoulders than pancake and hairspray. She must make him play by her rules on camera in spite of his sexy whispers behind the scenes.

Especially when a social media shitstorm brews on the horizon.

Fourteen days of filming. Six camera crews. And a minefield of hidden cameras. This time, no one’s getting away.

 


 

Praise for The Fiction of Forever

 

“It was fun in all the right spots, romantic when needed, and had me smiling throughout the entire read.” ~ Mandy of I Read Indie Blog

“I couldn’t put this book down. The chemistry between the characters in this book is great.” ~ Kalpas Book Blog

 

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He has a chance withthe one who got away!

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BrindaBerry_medBrinda Berry

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Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family. Brinda is obsessed with cairn terriers, Kings of Leon, new technology and sandy beaches. She’s also terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.

 

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22 March 2016

The Vampire’s Daughter Release Blitz @LeighA_Romance @thebookgardenpr

The Vampire’s Daughter

by Leigh Anderson

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Cover by Cherith Vaughn
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Gothic Paranormal Historical Romance
Publication Date: March 22, 2016

Front EBOOK Web Size - Vampire's Daughter

When Ethan discovers that the love of his life, Victoria, is actually the child of a monstrous beast and must marry another man to save her family, he retreats to a monastery to live out the rest of his days alone.
But the Church has other ideas.
Ethan’s mentor asks him to lead famous vampire hunter Dom Calmet back to his home village to rid the town of the vampires that plague it. Ethan must then take a journey, emotionally and literally, back to the town of his youth and choose between love and faith when he once again meets The Vampire’s Daughter.
Containing many tropes of a classic Gothic novel combined with the sensuality of a passionate romance, The Vampire’s Daughter will leave you gasping for more.

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Full PRINT - Web Size The Vampire's Daughter (1)

Excerpt

Victoria rode her horse Gregory toward the village at a steady pace. She was looking forward to seeing Ethan, and Gregory was glad to be out of the barn. As she got close to the village, she could sense something was wrong. She could hear the faint sound of a woman crying. Sorrow seemed to hang on the air. As she got closer, she could see a few people moving about quickly and quietly. Some were boarding up their windows; others were reinforcing their animal enclosures. Riding through the town, the usually cold people looked at her with disgust. In one house, she saw a little child pointing at her until the mother came up to close the drapes. A group of older women gathering firewood stopped and mumbled as she got closer. She dismounted at the blacksmith’s and greeted the man with a smile, but he did not repay her in kind.

“Thank you for watching Gregory for me for a few hours, sir,” she said as she tied him in his usual stall.

“No need to thank me,” he replied as he untied the horse and gave her back the reigns.

“Why?” she prodded, confused.

“You should not be here,” was all he said as he headed inside.

She led her horse back out into the street and looked around. There was hardly anyone about. A few prying eyes watched her from the houses.

“I have just as much right to be here as any of you,” she thought to herself as she held her head up high. She felt herself getting mad, but she wasn’t sure why. Why were the people staring and pointing at her? Why would the blacksmith say she didn’t belong there? What had she done to any of them? She decided to go to her future home and see if Ethan was there.

She tied her horse to the hitching post at the end of the walk. She approached the house and ran her fingers through what looked like claw marks on the oak front door. She did not remember seeing them there before.

“Hello?” she called inside as she opened the door. A small fire was going in the fireplace, telling her Ethan had been there and most likely would return. She felt herself calm down and her anger at the people melt away. The room was warm and safe. She closed the door and looked around the cottage. It already looked so homey, fully furnished with curtains on the windows and rugs on the floors.

She ascended the wooden steps to the second floor and opened the first door to a room on the left. It was small with equally small furniture – most likely a child’s room. She imagined that one day, her and Ethan’s children would be playing on that floor looking up at her with wide-eyed wonderment. Then their eyes reflected fear, and she thought of how the townspeople reacted to her today and how, even now, she was an outcast. She sighed, frowned, and shut the door on the frightened children she imagined were there.

She opened a door on her right and found the master bedroom. She entered the room, took off her cape, and hung it on a hook by the door. She walked over and placed her small hand on the large pine spindles of the bed. She walked to the far side of the bed, running her fingers over the covers. A multi-colored crotched blanket overlaid a beautiful pink and ecru quilt. She folded the blanket back so it only covered the foot of the bed and the quilt could be more fully seen. The quilt was so soft to the touch. She bent down and put her cheek to the fabric. She sighed in delight. She looked at the door and listened to see if anyone was there. When she only heard silence, she took off her shoes, climbed up onto the bed and laid long ways across it. It was a large bed. She stretched her hands way above her head and still could barely touch the other end. She laughed at herself and how she found such delight in such a simple thing.

“What are you doing?” a voice asked.

“Ahh!” she screamed and sat up straight and turned toward the voice. “Ethan! You startled me!”

“I startled you?” he asked. “What are you doing in my house?”

“Your house?” she asked. “I thought this was our house.”

Ethan began to laugh as he put the wooden club he was carrying by the door. “You should see yourself,” he said. “Why were you so afraid? I did not mean to scare you.”

“Oh, I do not know,” she replied, settling herself down. “Everyone was just acting so strange when I got here. I guess I am just on edge…” she trailed off, noticing the club. “What is that for?”

“Oh, well, do not worry about that,” he said, taking off his coat and sitting on the other side of the bed. “Everyone is a little nervous. Some wolves came into town on Sunday night and killed a man.”

“Oh, my goodness,” Victoria said, putting her hand to her mouth. “That is awful. Who was it?”

“Mr. Stanek,” he said. “We just had the funeral this morning,”

“I am sorry I missed it,” she lamented.

“It’s all right; you had no way of knowing about it.”

“Still, I feel awful.” She laid back and placed her head on one of the pillows.

Ethan looked at the sorrow on her face. He knew Father James was wrong about her. She cared and felt deeply for every person.

“Wait!” she said, sitting straight up again. “You said ‘wolves’ as in many of them? Is that what clawed the front door?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said. “There were five by my count, but some people saw more.”

“A whole pack attacked the town?” she asked. “That is like something out of an old legend, back when werewolves ruled the woods at night.”

“I know,” Ethan said. “The whole town is worried about the next full moon. Everyone is boarding up their windows and reinforcing their doors. I’m sure they are overreacting, though. Werewolves. How silly. They were just normal wolves. This cold weather probably has them desperate for food.”

“You actually saw them?” she asked. “My God, are you all right? You were not injured, were you?” She crawled over to him and put her hand on his face.

“No, no, I’m fine,” he said, chuckling over the fuss she was making. He liked how much she cared for him. “I’m fine,” he whispered, looking at her beautiful face. His face turned stone serious and he exhaled slowly.

She could tell by the way he was looking at her he wanted something. He turned his body to face her, reached up and pulled her toward him. She closed her eyes and let him kiss her. He stood up to kick off his shoes. She lay on the bed with her head on a pillow. He crawled up next to her and just looked at her for a moment. She pulled her feet up under her gown in a fetal position and put her hands under her cheek on the pillow. Ethan reached over and took the pins out of her hair, letting it frame her face. She looked so innocent, so pure. Her white skin was flawless and her dark eyes were glossy. She was not evil. If anything she was godly, angelic. He leaned over to kiss her, but she pulled back.

“Ethan,” she said. “Do you…would you mind if…maybe we…” She didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but she needed to ask him something.

“What?” he asked. He reached a reassuring hand to her and rubbed her shoulder. “What is it?”

“It’s …maybe we could not do that today. I still have not confessed from last time, and it has been a bad couple of days. Things have not gone well at home. I don’t need any more sin on my conscience right now.”

“Oh, sweetie. That’s all right,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. I don’t want to do anything you’re not comfortable with.”

“Have you talked to Father James yet? I really need to see him.”

“Oh, yes. I did speak to him…” He didn’t want to tell her what Father James had said, but he did not want to lie to her, either. “He was not happy, as expected,” he said. “He still wants me to go to Rome, of course.”

“Of course he would,” she agreed.

“He is still upset; I doubt he would absolve you of anything right now. Or me for that matter. I actually never confessed after last time either. Don’t worry, though, I am sure that in a few days, he will calm down and see that we are doing the right thing.”

“I hope so,” she said.

“Did you tell your father?” he asked.

“No, I have not been feeling well; I have not even seen him since Sunday. I think my nerves are making me tense. It has only been a couple of days; there is still plenty of time.”

“We have all the time in the world,” he said and smiled. His tone and happy demeanor calmed her so much she almost forgot about the wolves, and the priest, and the way the people in town were acting, and the women back home. All she wanted was to be with him forever. She leaned over and gave him an enticing kiss.

“I thought you were feeling guilty!” he said, pushing her gently away.

“If I die without confessing my already many and egregious sins, I suppose it makes no difference if I have one more added to the list, does it?”

“No, I suppose it doesn’t!” he said, climbing onto her, wrapping his arms all the way around her, holding her just as close and tight as he could. He rolled over and let her lay on his chest as they kissed. She straddled him to keep from falling over. She ran her tongue down his neck and kissed his chest. He reached down, pulled up her dress and caressed both of her legs. He ran his hands up to the top of her thigh-high stockings and touched her soft skin. She put the full weight of her body on top of him and he kissed her forehead. He slowly removed one of her stockings, feeling her bare, exposed skin from her thigh to her toes. He then removed the other stocking, a little more quickly this time.

Victoria breathed heavily; the room was hot. Ethan was burning for her. Ethan’s hot breath on her skin was almost more than she could handle. She reached a hand under his shirt and touched the skin of his rigid stomach. The sensation of her cold touch on his skin made Ethan gasp, but he took it as a sign that the shirt needed to be removed. He sat up and removed it while she still straddled his lap. He suckled and bit her neck and chest and caressed her thighs while she ran her fingers through his hair. The way his muscles had a slightly moist sheen in the subdued light filtering in from the window dressings excited her.

She reached around her back to try to find the many buttons that ran from her neckline to her waist. Ethan’s hands followed hers and realized what she was trying to do. He laughed a little, out of surprise and joy. He had an easier time removing the buttons from their loops than she did. He only got about halfway down when he thought the dress would be loose enough to take off. They both got up on their knees and he helped pull the heavy gown over her head. His face sank for a moment when he saw the full-length shift she was wearing underneath a fully laced corset. She laughed when she saw his expression.

“You did not think it was going to be that easy, did you?” she asked.

“Sorry if I seem a bit eager,” he said.

She felt relieved; she could breathe better and she felt lighter with the gown off. Ethan kissed her while she ran her fingers down his naked back. He reached around her and began pulling at the laces on her corset. She did not protest. She did not care if Helena noticed the lacings or not. She did not care if her father found out. What could he do about it after it was already done? If she gave herself to Ethan, let him have her most prized possession, it was hers to give. Ethan removed the corset and laid himself fully on top of her. She undid the top button on his pants. She moved her fingers deeper inside his pants to undo the next one and he groaned in anticipation.

“Victoria,” he said, propping himself up and looking at her. “Victoria. I love you so much.” He reached up and brushed some stray hairs away from her face. “Are you sure this is what you want?”

“I want you, Ethan,” she said, running her hands up his back. “I love you.”

He leaned back down and sucked on her neck. She held him tightly to her. He moved both of his hands to her legs and pulled her chemise up almost to her waist. He kissed her so strongly and his tongue prodded her mouth so deeply he almost gagged her, but she did not dare protest for fear he would stop. Her breath quickened. He did not want to go too quickly. This was the first time for both of them. He wanted to make sure it was perfect.

She was about to tell him to take her when a terrible feeling flooded over her. It was as if someone inside her head told her to run. She froze, trying to listen to the voice.

Ethan felt her tense up. He stopped because he was afraid he had hurt her or that she had changed her mind. “Victoria?” he began.

“Shhhhh!” she said, holding up a hand to silence him. Her harsh tone shocked him. She did not mean to sound cruel, but something was certainly wrong. He saw a disturbed look on her face. All of her senses seemed to come alive – she could see and hear everything around her. Hushed tones, the light clang of weapons, the smell of the cold air wafting in through an open door.

“Ethan!” she said, letting go of him and sitting straight up. “Someone is in the house!” She had a feeling it was more than someone simply looking for them – they were in danger.

“What?” he asked as he got up, closed his pants, and moved toward the door. She stood on the far side of the bed, pulled down her undergarment, and looked around for something she might be able to use to defend herself, but there was no time. As Ethan reached for the door, an unimaginable sense of danger overwhelmed her.

“No!” she screamed.

He stopped, but it was too late. Someone kicked in the door, and several of the village men entered the room followed by Father James.

 

 


 

leigh anderson

Leigh Anderson

LeighAndersonRomance.com | Facebook | Twitter | Email | Goodreads Profile | Amazon Profile

Leigh Anderson is an American author and editor living and traveling in Asia. She has a master’s degree in English and her thesis was on Gothic imagery in vampire literature. You can learn more about her at her website LeighAndersonRomance.com.


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15 March 2016

Rogue Agent Blog Tour @kelliewallace85 @TheBookGardenPR


Rogue Agent

by Kellie Wallace

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Genre: Sci fi/Thriller
Publication Date: March 15, 2016

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Time and space won’t stop Seth from eliminating his target…

In the year 2040, futuristic hit man Seth Langdon travels the world by rifts in time, carving a successful career in murdering corrupt men and women. He’s the top assassin working for the elite underground agency, Haroun.

If you’ve killed one scumbag, you’ve killed them all…

During a routine assignment in Oklahoma, Seth carries out the hit of an arms smuggler, David Bloom. But after the job is done, Seth can’t shake the feeling something is very wrong. He’s left haunted by the memory, but what made Bloom so different than Seth’s other targets?

Then his next assignment rolls in…

After a coveted promotion, Seth becomes an Expult agent—an assassin with the freedom and rights to eliminate specific targets. For his first official hit with the new job title, he’s ordered to kill animal activist Terra Bloom, daughter of David Boom. Regardless of Seth’s guilt over killing her father, she’s just another target…or is she?

Seth’s moral compass spins out of control as inner struggles clash with his dedication to the job. When his decisions lead to tragic consequences, Seth and Terra embark on a journey, fleeing from the very organisation Seth dedicated his life to.

When a trained killer falls for his mark, he’ll use every resource to protect her—even if he’s deemed a Rogue Agent.

EXCERPT

Seth tore the hotel room apart looking for anything to numb the pain. The bottle of pills he found under the sink didn’t cut it; neither did the bottle of vodka he boosted from the bodega down the road. Despite the promise of a bone crunching headache in the morning, he tilted his head and tipped the liquid into his empty gut.

From his position on the bed, he sneered at the bible on the table, forcing a half-assed laugh. The book cruelly reminded him that he had no right to ask for retribution from anyone. He was the last man to redeem himself. Trix was dead because of him. Was this punishment for choosing Terra over her? Spencer did the one thing he’d vowed he would never do: kill an agent’s loved one. For his act of treason, Seth was expecting some sort of rebuttal, but not this. The hotel room door opened and Terra entered, cradling a paper bag of groceries against her chest.

“Are you still nursing that bottle? Why don’t you take a shower? It will make you feel better.”

He snorted a response.

“Come on,” she cajoled. “You’ve always told me to move on. I’ m sorry about Trix but maybe it was for the —”

He was out of the chair and in her face so fast the paper bag slipped from her fingers and spewed its contents onto the carpet.

“You don’t get to say shit about Trix!” he yelled, shoving a finger in her face. “You didn’t

know her at all. If I never listened to the fucking voice in my head and saved you, she might be still alive.”

“You can’t blame me for that,” Terra shot back, gathering the fallen items back into the bag. “I’m sorry for her death, but you saved me for a reason. That little voice in your head decided to make a decision that ultimately changed your life. You’re a good man, Seth, and for what it’ s worth, I trust you. Somewhere deep inside me, I know I’m safe around you.”

He had no response.

“When I lost my father, I didn’t understand the pain I was feeling. He and I never got along when I was growing up, we were polar opposites. As a teenager, I made his life hell and my mother was at her wit’s end. When I turned sixteen, I moved out and never looked back. I did love him, of course, and it hurts that we never got to resolve our issues. I moved on.”

“Your father was a criminal,” he sneered.

Her lips formed a thin line and she turned her back on him. “You’ re hurting so I’ m going to let that one slide. I knew my dad. He was a good man, despite our history.”

“I knew who he was.”

Terra ripped the empty vodka bottle from his grip. “Shut up, Seth. You just want revenge.”

“Of course I do.”

She came up close, pressing her breasts against his chest, breathing hot air onto his neck.

“The best revenge is to live, Seth. Spencer hasn’t tracked us down yet. We left the park before his men could find us. Would Trix want you to cower in fear all your life?”

He gazed into her azure blue eyes and saw something he thought he’ d never find again: redemption. He wanted to kiss her, to taste her, but the memory of Trix’s head exploding into million pieces expelled the desire.

“Do you remember their faces?” Terra asked, unmoving, still close to him. “The men and women you killed over the years.”

“There’s too many of them.”

She drew lazy circles in his shirt, her eyes burrowing into his. “You need to relax and let loose. You’re too uptight. We sat in that stinky state train for two days to Richmond and you of all people need to unwind. I know a place.”

I sip my decaf coffee—which totally defeats the purpose of coffee, I understand that, but regular coffee gives me worse migraines than I already get—and stare a hole into my monitor. Yeah, I’m still one of those people who have a monitor. I have a desktop, a keyboard, a computer chair, and the whole mid-2000s thing going on in my bedroom/office. It’s the one room in the apartment where I can get away from everything. My place to shut the door, turn up the music, and dance if I want to dance. And I do want to dance. Nineties’ music is my specialty, and I use that word very loosely.

My room is my place to shut out the world. To stay awake and not sleep. To hide from my nightmares. To hide from Hart.

Every morning for the past week, it’s the same routine. I get up and rub my throat, because it hurts like a mother from all the screaming I apparently do in my sleep. As a side note, this is why I try not to sleep now when Sam’s here. Which means I don’t get a whole lot of sleep, but what’s sleep when you are eighteen? Eighteen year olds don’t need sleep. We need parties and friends and boyfriends to not think we are crazy.

kellie wallace author picKellie Wallace

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Born in Sydney, author Kellie Wallace developed a love for the written word early in life, writing her first story at aged three. Her father used to read to her at bedtime, establishing a deep love and respect for books.
Kellie wrote her first fiction fantasy novel called Giblin the Conquer, an X Files fan fiction and a military fiction while in high school. After finishing school, Kellie moved to the sunny Northern Beaches and carved a successful career in the media/advertising industry writing for numerous Sydney based publications. But that didn’t stop Kellie’s love to write. An aspiring novelist, she fulfilled a dream in 2008 having her first book All She Ever Wanted published at the age of 22 years old
In 2013-2014, Kellie released her first catalogue of books Darkness before Dawn, Skylark, To lean on Falling Men and Earthwalker. 2015 will be a big year for Kellie with the releases of Edge of Tomorrow and Her Sweetest Downfall.
She currently resides in Sydney with her husband.

 

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1 March 2016

The Beauty of Grace Blog Tour #nrichardbooks @thebookgardenpr

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CoverPhoto5The Beauty of Grace by Nicole Richard

Series: She’s Beautiful Series – Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: November 13, 2015
Pages: 308

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At age eighteen, Grace Bowman’s life crumbled right in front of her. The man who held her heart—her forever—was gone, and her family ties were in tatters. As a result, she forged a steel wall round her heart and vowed never to let anyone get close again.
Now, six years later, she has been given a chance to start fresh in Savannah, Georgia. A chance to leave the struggle of day-to-day life behind, find a career, and give Drew, her five year old son, a shot at normal.
A balloon and a flat tire had her crossing paths with AJ Watson, and she realized normal probably wasn’t in her cards.
AJ was handsome, thoughtful, and fiercely loyal to his family. Yet, behind his baby-blue eyes and Southern boy charm, he was just as broken as she was. She told herself to stay away from him, and she tried, but the lines between friendship and lover are blurred.
When Grace realizes history may be repeating itself, will she be able to let go of the past, or will she walk away from her future?

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Chapter One Excerpt

I was just about to open my driver’s side door when I turned toward the rumbling of a motorcycle that came to a halt next to me. A black leather jacket covered, chiseled-to-perfection male specimen kicked the kickstand and removed his helmet. My breath hitched at the sight of our grocery checkout friend. A warm pool of heat flowed effortlessly through my veins. What in the world was going on with my traitorous body? I watched his movements as he placed his helmet on the handlebars and swung his leg, lifting himself off his bike.
“You need some help there?” he asked blankly and sauntered to the side with the flat.
“I do.” I said softly.
Closely watching his every move, I should have been tense, on guard—for heaven’s sake this man was technically a stranger—but I felt a sense of safety in his presence. I think he just asked me something, but for the life of me, I had no idea what he said. With a kind voice and a sexy grin, he asked if I had a spare in the trunk.
I hoped I did, my car wasn’t that old. Sometimes I missed that damn Mercedes, but with a baby to support that was not a practical choice. So, I traded it in for this Altima and lived off the rest.
“I think so.” I popped the trunk.
Standing at the open trunk, he searched until he found what he was looking for. Spare tire and jack in hand, he got to work.
Ten minutes later, my tire was changed and just in time. It started to drizzle again. Our mystery friend slammed the trunk shut and tapped it twice before looking at me. I felt so out of sorts near this man, and a faint flush warmed my cheeks.
“Thank you, Mr. . . ” I realized I didn’t even know his name. Smirking he stuck his hand out.
“Name’s Alex, or AJ, as everyone else calls me.”
“Well thank you, Mr.—umm, I mean, Alex.” And for the third time that day, I felt the blush in my cheeks.
“My pleasure, Miss—”
“Oh, I’m sorry. It’s Grace, and thank you again for your help, and the balloon.”
Alex nodded like a gentleman. “I’d tell you to have your husband get you a new tire but didn’t see a ring on your finger. So maybe have your boyfriend get that looked at. You don’t want to be driving around on a spare tire for too long.”
“Thank you, I’ll let him know.” I knew his angle, and I wasn’t falling for it. Clearly, he was trying to fish around for information about if I had a man in my life. Even though he was a Good Samaritan, I still had some level of skepticism.
I smiled, waved, and got in my car, only to sneak a peek through the rearview mirror. Watching Alex straddle his motorcycle and put his helmet on made that instant pool of heat slowly shift south again, and I wondered if I needed to get myself checked out. I couldn’t recall ever being this flustered by the opposite sex before.

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7ce49-copy2bof2bcopy2bof2bnicole2brichard2blogoNicole Richard

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Nicole was born and raised in Hawaii, where she currently resides with her husband and teenage daughter and son.
At an adolescent age, she took a strong liking to reading and even had a pipe dream of writing her own book. Life and growing up had put reading on the far end back burner and recently came alive again.
A hopeless romantic, she has a love for romance novels, which she credits her late mother passing on to her and now an even stronger love to write her own stories.
When Nicole, isn’t working, writing or reading, she enjoys her chocolate frozen yogurt with mini Reese’s pieces addiction, Starbucks in moderation and a once-a-year (if she’s lucky) trip to visit her best friend in Vegas.

 

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22 February 2016

Loving Daniel Blog Tour @StacyFordauthor @thebookgardenpr

Loving Daniel

by Stacy Ford

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Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: February 1, 2016
Pages: 184

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51ixGZaExcL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_When Kenzie Hart’s boyfriend dumped her and broke her heart, she didn’t let it stop her from living life. Kenzie went out and made a great life for herself.

She has a loving husband, two kids, and even a thriving career. She is living the life of a modern day fairy tale.

But if Kenzie should have learned anything, it’s fairy tales are a work of fiction. There are not happily ever after’s.

When tragedy strikes, she moves back to her hometown to start over with friends and family at her side.

Daniel Roberts has always regretted the way things ended with Kenzie. There has not been a day in the last twenty years he has not wished he
could go back in time and change what happened. Now she is coming home after the loss of her husband. He is determine to show her he can
be the man she and her children need.

Will Kenzie be able to forgive Daniel? Could he give her a second chance at a happily ever after?

 


 

Final crying teaser

It's not my fault I was drawn this way_ I say with a laugh I walk away from him with a purposeful swing to my hips (2)

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Stacy Ford

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I am an Indie Contemporary Romance author. I live in Texas with my husband and daughter. I decided to take a hiatus in my career to stay home with my daughter, but I can’t sit still for long.
Once she got into school I decided to fulfill my dream of writing a book.
If I am not at home on the computer writing, or my nose glued to my kindle, I can be found at my other job as an under-paid taxi service for a seven-year old princess.

 

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17 February 2016

Heartless Blog Tour @martieKay @thebookgardenpr

Heartless, Book 1 of 3

by Kelly Martin

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Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: January 17, 2016

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heartless 1400x2100Some things can’t be saved.
What would you do if your guardian angel wasn’t sent to protect you from the world but to protect the world from you?
For thirteen years, Gracen Sullivan dreamed about a red-eyed demon named Hart Blackwell who tortured her every night. Her mother freaked when she found out about her daughter’s “hallucinations” and forced Gracen to go to the doctor, who prescribed some very powerful medication which kept Hart out of her head for five years.
A week ago, Hart came back and brought a friend.
But something has changed, and Gracen is seeing Hart when she’s awake too. And the other “friends” in her dreams? They have been found dead.
The police want to talk to her.
Her boyfriend has become distant.
Her dreams are becoming more and more intense.
Hell wants her.
Heaven has to stop her.
When push comes shoving, can Gracen fight the evil eating away inside her or will she be forced to embrace it and destroy the world?
Book 2: Soulless (2/14/2016)
Book 3: Breathless (9/4/2016)

Excerpt @sullyGray: What ya up to today?

I sip my decaf coffee—which totally defeats the purpose of coffee, I understand that, but regular coffee gives me worse migraines than I already get—and stare a hole into my monitor. Yeah, I’m still one of those people who have a monitor. I have a desktop, a keyboard, a computer chair, and the whole mid-2000s thing going on in my bedroom/office. It’s the one room in the apartment where I can get away from everything. My place to shut the door, turn up the music, and dance if I want to dance. And I do want to dance. Nineties’ music is my specialty, and I use that word very loosely.

My room is my place to shut out the world. To stay awake and not sleep. To hide from my nightmares. To hide from Hart.

Every morning for the past week, it’s the same routine. I get up and rub my throat, because it hurts like a mother from all the screaming I apparently do in my sleep. As a side note, this is why I try not to sleep now when Sam’s here. Which means I don’t get a whole lot of sleep, but what’s sleep when you are eighteen? Eighteen year olds don’t need sleep. We need parties and friends and boyfriends to not think we are crazy.

Oh, I’m sure Sam does, though, because he’s caught me on a few occasions. Screaming. Yelling. Trying to fight Hart. Especially that first night. I had the honor of falling asleep in Sam’s lap while we watched a movie downstairs. Then, BAM, Hart was there. I was on the table. The same table I hadn’t seen in five years. Hart smiled. Hart cut.

Apparently, I screamed.

Sam woke me up, all big eyed and scared. He poured me some red wine, covered my shoulders with a blanket, and waited for me to talk about it. I drank every bit in about three swigs—incidentally, the best wine ever—and told him it had just been a nightmare.

He knows about the five pills I take every night before bed and four I take in the mornings. He doesn’t know what they are for. We’ve been dating for two years, and I haven’t felt the need to tell him about it—okay, I’m scared the heck out. I’m afraid he’ll leave me if he finds out. Sam is, well, he’s Sam. Samson David Asher. He’s perfect and good and all that other stuff I’m not. And up until a week ago, he’s been wonderful. Bless him…. He tries. He’s at Crimson Ridge on a football scholarship, so you know he’s athletic. It’s just that I don’t want to ruin this. He’ll think I’m crazy. His father, the therapist, will know I’m crazy. I’ve met him one time. That was the one and only time Sam took me over to his house. Plenty for me. He spent all of supper not necessarily breaking his Hippocratic Oath, but damn well coming close. He never used names, but I could tell ole Jane Doe was as batty as a belfry.

And Doctor Asher would laugh.

And Mrs. Asher would laugh.

Sam wouldn’t laugh.

I’m so glad Sam didn’t laugh.

Didn’t mean I wanted him to know about me.

At the time, there wasn’t much to tell. It wasn’t that I was lying. I took medicine to keep the scary dude from eating me in my dreams every night. That’s all. And it worked. It all worked. So I didn’t have to tell Sam.

That’s why I didn’t.

Then we moved in together, which my mother hated even though I told her we weren’t sleeping together or even in the same room. Even then in the back of my mind, I was scared that maybe the dreams and Hart would come back.

Looks like I was right.

Yay me.

When I finally roll out of bed, Sam’s already gone for the morning. He gets up before God and goes running. Then he goes to the gym. Then class. I don’t see how he can keep that up for the rest of the semester, but if that’s what he wants to do, who am I to complain? Makes it easier to fake being normal when I’m alone.

I sit and fidget with my coffee in my hands, staring at the screen, waiting for a reply. I need someone to talk to. Someone human. I’ve talked to Hart all night. He cut me open and the girl… well, she watched.

You try living with the same nightmare. You try being ripped apart every night in your dreams. For the past week, I’ve had to do it all over again. I thought it was over. I still take my damn medicine and nothing—he’s still there. He’s still torturing me, and I have no idea why. It’s getting to me, though. Seeing those red eyes in the middle of that boyish face. In fact, it’s those red eyes that stand out with Hart. Not sure why I named him that either. He’s just always been Hart. Like I’ve always been Gracen, and Sam’s always been Sam.

He’s always been my tormentor.

If it weren’t for the eyes, Hart wouldn’t be very bad looking. Tall, tan, toned, big muscles, which he uses to pull my skin off. By the way he tugs and rips, it seems like difficult work. I have the easy job. All I do is lay there naked and scream.

Hart has longish brown hair, which gets coated in blood sometimes. Lovely. I totally blame him for it. It’s longer now that he’s been gone for a few years. Funny how the mind thinks of weird things like that.

He isn’t real, of course. It’s just my brain doing what my crazy brain does. Some people dream of rainbows and kittens. Occasionally, they will have a clown or a possessed doll thrown in for flavor. To remind them that their mind is a pretty screwed up place. Sometimes a person will see themselves hanging down from the ceiling and scream while they sleep. Me? I’d give anything to see a freakin’ clown in my dreams. All I have, all I’ve ever had, is Hart.

I’m a lucky duck.

But, despite all that, I try very hard to be normal. Whatever that means. I smile when I figure I should smile and laugh when it seems appropriate to laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty socially messed up. I hate crowds, and if I don’t have a backspace, well, I’m screwed. Royally. I like backspaces. The world needs a backspace. Imagine how awesome everything would be with backspaces.

For the most part, except for a few glitches—like the one time I dated Earl Flynn… and my entire sophomore year—I think I’ve done rather well for myself in the I’m-just-like-you department. It’s been exhausting, worrisome, and entirely too stressful, but I did it. And I’d been fairly good at it until this week. Until I’d moved away from home. Moved in with Sam. Drank a little extra wine every night. Sam offered, and who am I to turn it down even if I’m underage. The one bad thing I do in my life. And then I started dreaming of Hart again. My inner demons came out in my dreams. Very deep.

I thought I’d gotten out of the woods. I thought Hart was gone, and everything until the end of time would be hunky dory, all sunshine and roses.

I never should have thought that.

Idiot.

Is Tina ever going to message me back?

Seriously, I have class in like thirty minutes, and I need to finish getting ready. I know she’s online. The little green dot tells me that. And yeah, I guess I could wait for her on my phone, but keyboards are so much more convenient. To me anyway.

Tina is from California. I’d think she wouldn’t be up at the central time crack of dawn—or seven a.m.—but she is. She’s usually up before me. Messaging me. Asking me if I’m okay. If I slept well. Typical friendly Internet banter. A side note: I enjoy typical friendly Internet banter. It’s relaxing. There are no expectations. There is no judging. And yeah… backspace city up in here.

Tina, apparently, is one of those up and at ’em folks. I want to be like her someday. She’s my happy buddy, which isn’t as weird or creepy as it sounds. My therapist actually suggested it once. To keep away the demons, he’d said.

Dr. Sheldon took Hart very figuratively. I don’t think he ever thought of him as a person or a thing. Just a crazy hallucination in a crazy girl’s mind.

Maybe Dr. Sheldon is right?

My foot will not stop shaking as I scroll down my page, waiting for Tina to pop up. I know she has a life and kids and a family and she’s never seen me, but still, I need to talk to her. Talking to her makes me feel less insane.

Talking to a person I’ve never met in a room, by myself, makes me feel less insane. Yep, I’m totally normal…

The world is weird.

The shaking of my foot causes the blanket, the one I always have draped over my legs when I’m sitting at my desk, to fall toward the floor. Thanks to my lightning quick reflexes, I grab it before it crashes to the floor and pull it back to its upright position.

I’m freezing.

Then again, I’m always freezing. Always. I can’t ever remember a time when I felt warm. I totally blame Hart—even if he has nothing to do with it. The doctor, an actual medical doctor, said she thinks it’s some kind of hormone imbalance. At eighteen?

I’m falling apart.

Because I needed something else to break me.

I don’t care though. Not really. I can just keep a blanket on me and live in a world of denial where everybody is cold, and the hot or warm ones are mutants. It would be totally awesome if I were the normal person in the world and everybody else were the freaks. It would make my life.

Anyway…

@tinaM Mornin’ Nothing much. Getting ready to head out. You? Everything okay? Did you sleep well last night?

Loaded question. I place my fingers on the keyboard to type out my usual: “I slept fine. I’m fine. Everything’s fine. Peachy. Awesome. Couldn’t be better.” But I freeze. Those words mean nothing to me. They sound like someone who is moving through the motions but her heart isn’t in it. And it’s not. Not really. I feel deflated. I thought Hart was gone, but he’s back. I thought I’d be able to have an awesome life in Crimson Ridge living on my own with Sam. I thought a lot of things. I thought wrong.

“I’m fine” is what humans say to each other if they are dying. Because we are polite and think our problems are nobody else’s problems. They are hurting worse than us—or someone in the world always is—so we shouldn’t complain. We shouldn’t tell anybody what’s bothering us. Not at all. Never. In the scheme of things, it isn’t important. We aren’t important.

I’m not important.

I should tell Tina I’m fine. This morning, though, for some reason, I don’t. My fingers seem to have a mind of their own as they type. Not really. Rough night…

My fingers itch to keep going. To share anything about Hart, the dreams, and the dark-haired girl who joined him last night. It has to mean something, right? It has to be a clue or an omen. I have to be dreaming about these things for a reason. Maybe if I talk about it, tell someone else about it, then I’ll be able to figure it out. A new, fresh brain on the matter, because, frankly, I’ve been thinking about it as long as I can remember. All I can come up with is “Why me?”

And lately, “What the hell are these new visions for?”

The old familiar beating pounds in my temples, and I know it’s coming. A migraine. I have them a lot unfortunately. And mainly when I’m trying to think about Hart. Trying to figure him out. I guess I’m trying to figure myself out, which is a whole new level of crazy. I’d make an excellent research project for someone if I told them the truth.

I can’t even tell Tina.

Even through my uncooperative fingers, my aching head, my anxious innards, I want to tell Tina some form of the truth, but I can’t. I just can’t.

But I’m sure it’ll be okay. I type back to cover myself. I’m a moron for even saying as much as I did. She’ll worry. I’ll have to explain. Lots of steps I don’t want to do.

I’m a thousand times sure it won’t be all right. Might never be all right again. But I say it because I’m supposed to. I’m human after all.

While I wait, the hardship of Internet chatting, my mind wanders. I really do like my apartment. It is nice and cozy. Two stories. The bottom has a ’90s-style kitchen with an eat-in area. A sliding door leads to the backyard. When I say backyard, I mean a little spot of land probably no bigger than a postage stamp. But it’s fenced in, and as a long as we pay the rent, it’s ours.

Ours… my mom doesn’t like me living with Sam. She likes Sam. Likes him as much as any guy I’ve gotten serious with; of course, Sam is the only guy I’ve ever gotten serious with. More for his determination than mine. That boy seemed to really like me when we first started dating, but now…

Anyway, my mom has enough to deal with, and I sure don’t help. Her sister, my Aunt Willow has been, well, she’s in a mental hospital. We aren’t sure exactly what made her snap, but snap she did. One morning she was fine and then… she wasn’t. Mom got a call that her sister was in the emergency room. She’d walked right in front of a car. Suicide they figured, which threw us both for a loop because Aunt Willow had always been full of life. I mean, yeah, she was a little weird at times, but aren’t all aunts? Actually, this all happened about a week before I met Sam. Aunt Willow used to live with us. Took care of me when I was little. She helped out because I didn’t have a dad. I mean, I’m sure I do somewhere, but I just don’t know him. Don’t know if I ever want to know him. That’s a lie. I would like to meet the man someday. Curiosity and all that.

So, Aunt Willow went insane, I met Sam, and two years later, we moved into our apartment at Crimson Ridge for school. Mama worries about the premarital sex since, apparently, that’s how I came into the world and she doesn’t want me to make the same mistake, which is an awesome thing to say to your daughter. Basically calling me a mistake. I know she didn’t mean it like that, but after all the grief I’ve put her through in the last eighteen years, I feel like maybe she meant it. She was young. Didn’t ask to have a kid. And BAM, there I was. It’s not like I was the easiest when I got to be a preteen either with the nightmares and the therapists.

But my mom, if she really knew Sam and me, she’d know that she has nothing to worry about. We’ve been good. No sex—not that I haven’t wanted to. Believe me, I have. But Sam hasn’t. He’s shot me down every time. It’s enough to make a person start to feel bad about themselves. Sometimes, I think that’s part of the problem with us. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate that he’s a gentleman. Still, it’s not easy when it feels like even your boyfriend doesn’t like you.

Overdramatic? Yeah, probably. Can’t help my feelings, though. I can help them as long as I don’t talk about them. Talking is bad. Talking gets you new medicine, and if that doesn’t work, I don’t even want to think about it.

I wonder how many people in the world pretend to be normal. I wonder what normal would be if everyone stopped trying to be it and actually acted like themselves. I bet the geeks would inherit the world because everyone is at least a closet geek. Who doesn’t freak out over TV shows and Internet memes of their one true paring? Or fangirl? I do in the comfort of my own bedroom, staring at my own little computer, in my own little slice of Heaven. I love it here. Sam’s room is down the hall. The bathroom separates us. Like I said, he doesn’t venture to my end of the world very often.

I love my room. It’s white, clean, and cozy. I have dark purple curtains on the windows, shutter style doors on the closet, a starry fairytale lamp next to my bed, a quilt that looks homemade that I bought from the store, and my desk. All the comforts of home without having to hear my mom crying every night.

I should probably call her.

In here, in my little room, I’m safe. Or at least I used to be. I’d shut the door and everything would just go away. Now? Now I have Hart back, invading my dreams, killing me, bringing people to watch (which is extremely creepy, believe it or not). He invades my happy place and makes me feel uneasy in my own room.

I hate it.

I hate him.

I hate myself for not being strong enough to push through the nightmares.

I hate myself for having that little sliver of doubt—that little nagging feeling in the back of my mind—that maybe Hart Blackwell isn’t imaginary. That maybe he’s real. Or maybe I’m getting as crazy as Aunt Willow.

@tinaM: GRACEN! What’s up with you? Did you fall off your chair again or something? Helllllooooo…

So I sort of forgot to answer her. I suppose that happens. Happens to me when I start thinking and my mind wanders. #dangerous

@sullyGray Yeah, sorry. I’m here. Just thinking.

Like I said, thinking is a dangerous thing. And admitting to thinking when trying to act all fine is a dangerous road. I don’t like dangerous roads. I’d rather just stay on the straight and narrow. That sounds pretty good to me. Straight. Narrow.

Wait? Which road leads to Hell? Because I’d like to take the other, thanks.

@tinaM Panic attacks again?

Sometimes, I wish I’d never told her about the panic attacks. I’ve never mentioned Hart, obviously, but on the day the nightmares started coming back—has it really just been a week?—I messaged her. I guess I didn’t have my wall up completely yet, and I let it slip that I might possibly be having some anxiety issues. Now, my anxiety issues are all about the crazy dude in my head and not actually me… is it weird that I think of us as two different people? Yes? No? Maybe?

I so don’t want to think about that.

The thing is, I did tell Tina about the panic attacks and I regretted it exactly a millisecond after hitting the send button. I’d been careful to put the wall back up ever since.

I should tell Tina the truth, or some sane variation of it. I should give her some reason to stick around, because I do need to talk. Not to a therapist or a shrink, though I’m sure my mother wishes I would visit Dr. Sheldon more regularly. But a friend. An actual friend. Someone I can just talk to. Someone who understands…

Then again, who can understand this?

Part of me is afraid I’m going crazy.

Part of me is scared I’m not, because if I’m not, if what is going on in my nightmares is real, then I’ve got 99 more problems to deal with.

That’s why I can’t tell Tina. It’s why I can’t tell anybody. There is something inside me that will not allow me to have a meaningful conversation with people. It’s like part of me is missing. Not just the scary part either. It’s like I’m missing some important part of myself that everybody else has and God forgot to put inside me. Like everyone else has a nice awesome soul and I have… Hart.

So not a fair trade.

I sit up straighter and place my hands on the keyboard, ready to tell Tina something without telling her anything at all. It’s how humans communicate, right? I’ll tell her that, yeah, I’m having some anxiety issues. It’s the second full week of college, of living with Sam, of being away from home. College assignments are different from high school, and I’m a little stressed about doing well on them. I won’t tell her about Sam or the weird fight we had last night. Almost like he wanted to pick it so I’d go upstairs and leave him alone. I’ll tell her it’s anxiety and not that I haven’t slept more than two hours a night in a week. I’ll tell her a lot of things because she is my friend and that’s what friends do.

They lie to each other so they can make each other feel good.

@sullyGray I’m fine. Really. Just Monday morning, kwim? I’m ready for it to be Friday again. Whoot!

@tinaM Tell me about it! Mondays are so hard! Gotta go. Talk to you later. Have a great day!

@sullyGray You too!!!!!!

And then I add some smiley emoticons, because that’s just what a person does. I hit send and lean back in my computer chair. Monday morning. Time for Professor Mitchell’s class. Time to see Marcy, AKA the best Teacher’s Assistant in the world, and listen to the professor talk about some random event that happened in the Civil War. Because that’s what he does. He talks about random events that didn’t matter to anybody but does it in such a way that you care. Professor Mitchell is one of those teachers who just makes you want to learn, makes you want to listen. He has something special about him. Something no other teacher has had, and I’ve only had him three times. I have his class Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. A great way to start the week, and a great way to end it.

Can’t exactly say enough about Professor Mitchell. I mean, he’s him.

Sweet, intelligent, awesome, and at least twenty years older than me. Handsome in that old guy way. Not that I’d want anything to do with him—not in that way. Not feelin’ that, but I know some other people in the class wouldn’t mind.

The professor loves talking about the Civil War. More than just the war, the families involved, the real people behind the “Hollywood machine,” as he calls it.

I shut down my computer and stretch in my chair. Yeah, it’s Monday, but it’ll be a good Monday. It will. I’ll go to class with a positive attitude. I’ll listen. I’ll take notes. I’ll text Sam—funny how he’s not sent me one before now—and I’ll be happy.

Or, at the very least, I’ll pretend to be happy.

That’s all people really want, right?

Sunshine. Marcy, the T.A. for Professor Mitchell. Tina. Sam—somewhere. I’m living my life. I’m moving on. I’m totally ignoring Hart, who is currently whispering in my head about candles.

I’m fine.

I’m totally normal.

Heartless Teaser

 

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11924910_885286308218439_7478011809411357264_nKelly Martin writes paranormal, contemporary, historical, and YA fiction. She has been married for over ten years and has three rowdy, angelic daughters. When she’s not writing, she loves taking picture of abandoned houses, watching horror gamers on YouTube– even though she’s a huge wimp– and drinking decaf white chocolate mochas. She’s a total fangirl, loves the 80s and 90s, and has a sad addiction to paranormal TV shows. {Basically, she likes creepy stuff.} Her favorite characters are the very flawed ‘good guys’–and ‘bad guys’ who don’t know they are evil. She loves giving her readers books with unexpected twists and turns, but (here’s a hint) most of her books have the ending spelled out in the first chapter. See if you can figure it out.

 

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