Monday, August 20, 2018

Read an Excerpt from To Have and To Harley by Regina Cole ~ Enter the #Giveaway ~ #Romance @SourcebooksCasa

You may now kiss the biker


About the Book:

Bethany Jernigan owes her bestie. Big time. So when wedding planning overburdens the bride-to-be, Bethany steps in to handle the nitty-gritty. But the guy in charge isn’t anything like she imagined. He's gruff, tattooed, and 100% male. His staff is even rougher around the edges, and it's not long before she feels as if she's stepped into some kind of crazy alternate reality.

Are those…bikers? Arguing about wedding favors?

Trey Harding never wanted this to get so out of hand. One little lie somehow snowballed into a world of dresses and flowers and food and holy-hell-he's-in-over-his-head. But it’s not like he can confess he’s not the wedding planner he’s pretending to be—especially now that he's falling for the maid of honor! His charade is becoming a farce, and as engines rev and ribbons fly, Trey’s running out of time to figure out how to tell the truth without losing his new family, his crew…or the woman of his dreams.


Read an Excerpt:

Bethany followed him out into the night. This far out in the country, the stars twinkled brightly. Crickets chirped, the low thump of music from inside muffled by the closing door. 

Gravel crunched under Bethany’s shoes as she followed Trey a short distance from the building, around the corner to a concrete pad that held a good dozen-plus motorcycles. 

“What can I do for you?” 

Bethany shivered. 

It wasn’t the night air. It was the way he stood, feet braced apart, shoulders square, arms loose and ready, body big and strong and near enough for her to sink into. 

If she wanted. Which she didn’t. Really, she didn’t. 

She cleared her throat. Focus, Beth. 

“That was…an interesting event.” She chose her words carefully. Though she’d clearly won, she didn’t want to make him feel bad. Weird, that. She didn’t want to make a liar feel bad for lying? What was wrong with her? 

“Thank you,” he said shortly, his stare direct. She fought the urge to squirm. She hadn’t done anything wrong. A little rude, maybe, but not wrong. 

“Now will you agree that you can’t handle Sarah’s wedding?” 

“No.” 

His short answer took her aback, and she blinked. “I’m sorry?” 

“I said no.” 

Her temper rose, blood heating as her pulse quickened. “That’s my best friend you’re talking about. You think you can get away with something like this for her? A wedding at a bar with shrimp and orange bagels and peanut-butter pickle boats?” 

Trey’s glare shot toward the bar. “Damn it, Stone, I told you to drop the pickles.” 

“You can’t do this to them. To Sarah, to Mama Yelverton. They’re trusting you, and you’re lying to them!” 

“I know!” he roared, and the sound was so loud and close that her heart jumped into her throat. “I know they’re trusting me! That’s why I’m trying to do the best job I can. And you’re always in the way and trying to ruin it! Why aren’t you letting me help them?” 

“Because I don’t trust you!” She went toe-to-toe with him, shoulders heaving as she stared straight into his glowering eyes. “You’re too—” 

“Too what? Too rough? Too mean? Too bad to plan a wedding?” 

“Yes! All of that! You don’t know what you’re doing, and you’re going to ruin things for them and take their money and break their hearts, and I won’t let you do it! I love them, and you’re not going to take advantage of them like this!” 

Trey stopped, his expression blanking. “You think I’m trying to take advantage of them? For money?” 

Bethany’s insides stuttered, uncertainty creeping into her voice. “Well, aren’t you?” 

He looked away from her, an unnamed emotion rolling off him in waves. 

“No. I’m not. I don’t want anything from them but a relationship. And I hope you understand that you’re doing your best to ruin any chance of that.” 

For the first time, the certainty that she’d held about Trey began to crumble. Standing there in front of her, with his strong, broad shoulders silhouetted against the parking lot lights, he looked—human. Angry and hurt and lonely, as if her words had peeled away the outer shell he presented to the world. His gaze swung back to her, and she saw in that moment just how shallow she’d been. How wrong. How prejudice had blinded her, how the exterior of the man in front of her had shielded her eyes from the true heart of him. 

“You were lonely. Weren’t you?” 

Her whispered question rocked him on his heels as if it were a gunshot. 

“Yeah. Yeah I was. I thought I’d been dumped by the woman who’d given birth to me in a gas-station bathroom.” 

Her hand covered her mouth, and she just stared. As if a tourniquet had been released, words flew from him. 

“I had nobody. The system yanked me back and forth so many times, I had whiplash by the time I was eight. Nobody wanted me. Nobody—” 

He gritted his teeth and stared straight out at the horizon, as if by simply looking at it, he could stem the tide of emotions she’d unwittingly released. 

But they hung there, unspoken, and Bethany’s heart ached for him. 

She’d known love. She’d had the most amazing father for fifteen years. And after that? She’d had the Yelvertons to rescue her from her grandmother. Without them… 

Without them, she might know a little more of his pain. 

God, how wrong she’d been. Because he looked like a roughneck, she’d judged him as unfit for the Yelvertons. But now…now she could see a glimpse of the little boy he’d been once. Lonely, afraid, abandoned. She longed to comfort him, to heal him, to take away the pain her thoughtlessness had inflicted. 

Her father would be ashamed of her. 

“I’m sorry,” she said, and without thinking, she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him. He was warm and hard, his body unmoving, like a living rock. “I’m so, so sorry.” 

For a moment he didn’t yield, didn’t budge, didn’t return her embrace. And then his big, broad hands swept up her back, and he relaxed into her embrace, taking the physical comfort she offered. 

With each heartbeat, she tried to communicate her true feelings to him. To return the kindness he’d shown her in the kitchen. To apologize for ripping open his decades-old emotional wound. To make amends for the fact she’d stood in his way when all he’d wanted was to get to know his family. 

But it wasn’t enough. She needed to do more. 

Of its own accord, her hand wandered up and cupped his cheek. As she looked into his eyes, twin mossy pools of pain and sadness, she did the only thing she could think of. 

She kissed him. 

“I’m sorry. I’ve hurt you, and I know what that feels like, and I’m so damn sorry.” 

The words went unspoken, but she prayed he could feel them in the brush of her mouth against his.

Purchase Your Copy:


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Book Tour, Excerpt, & #Giveaway ~ Dylan's Quest (Finding Magic, Book Five) by Blair Drake ~ Paranormal Romance @BlairDrakeBooks


Dylan's Quest
Finding Magic
Book Five
Blair Drake

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Magic Quest Books

Date of Publication: July 19, 2018

ASIN: B07DFRWFRC

Number of pages: 225
Word Count: 78,750

Cover Artist: Jennifer Zemanek/Seedlings LLC

Tagline: What would you do to find your magic?
About the Book:

The most normal thing about Dylan’s morning was being called to the headmaster’s office. And that’s where normal forever changed for him. One minute he’s in the office, the next he’s on the roof, and moments later, he opens the doors to Gray Cliffs Academy to find he’s in a whole new world.

Troll, and pixies, and chameleman, oh my. In a dimension with real-world technology along with magic, Dylan must find his grimoire and get back to Gray Cliffs before the darkness invades both worlds.


Read an Excerpt from Book 5:

When Dylan opened the door, he thought maybe he was dropped off the roof onto his head and suffered a concussion. Nothing else, short of a dream (which he decided it wasn’t a dream when he pinched himself and it hurt like hell), could explain what he saw.

“Quantum physics is real,” he said aloud. 

He stepped through the doorway and closed the doors firmly behind him, to keep the fog at bay. Turning around to what should be the foyer of the school, he saw a city. Was it a city? Could that be possible? And it felt familiar, only he was sure he never saw anything like it before now. 

“Holy…” He didn’t finish his sentence because awe overtook him. He’d seen this place before. Not the whole place necessarily, but he’d seen that house. He looked to the left...and that house.

His father was an architect, and he had drawings and paintings of Victorian homes all around his office. But the homes were surreal, with blithely assembled gables, dormers, turrets, and finials. It was a surreal whimsy. His dad said he interpreted what he was taught about Stic, Eastlake, and Gothic Revival architecture. He always thought his dad reimagined and reinvented original architectural designs, but he drew real houses.

Dylan took a tentative step forward. What the hell happened? Where were the rest of the kids? And why wasn’t he terrified? Fog seeped through the seams of the door and clouded the vision before him. He could see this town was near the sea and thought maybe it was the other side of the island—or not.

He considered pinching himself again, because this had to be a dream. Only he looked down and saw the welt he gave himself moments ago. Not a smart idea. He’d roll with it. He stepped forward onto the sidewalk and was nearly run over by an egg-shaped man wearing what he’d call steampunk clothing: cream colored, high-waist Regency fall front trousers, a brown vest with a burgundy jacket with little round tassels hanging from the hem, a white cotton neck scarf with the same tassels, and tan and burgundy wingtip shoes. 

The egg man walked on the tips of his toes while three cats, all tiger striped, walked with him. The three cats were on leashes. With his nose in the air, not paying attention, it was no wonder he nearly ran over Dylan. 

Dylan started to say a sarcastic, “Excuse me,” but he was awestruck by what he saw in the street.

An elephant, wearing a hat and blanket the same colors of tan and burgundy as the round man, had a miniature version of the Taj Mahal strapped to his back. As the elephant walked past, Dylan could see two monkeys inside the Taj Mahal, playing chess.

Dylan shook his head. What happened on that roof? He looked around to see the streets were filled with other oddities: a woman who looked like a mermaid with legs, was riding a seahorse as if the air were water; a frog with wings; fish floating by in bubbles. And when he looked to the sky, he swore the crescent moon smiled at him, then winked. 

He felt something hot in the pocket of his khaki school uniform pants and pulled out a pin. It glowed. It was warm, but not really hot, though it felt quite hot in his pocket, like it tried to get his attention. 

“Hey,” he heard a muffled cry.

Looking around, he didn’t see anyone looking at him.

“Down here, stupid,” the whiny voice said again.

Just as he leaned over to see where the voice was coming from, a bee the size of a small dog swooped down at him. As it flew away, he saw it wasn’t just a bee. The insect had the upper body of a woman, with the butt and wings of a bee.

“Watch out, that one can kill you,” the voice said. 

Dylan looked at the grass next to the sidewalk. A man’s pocket watch was wedged between the grass and the white picket fence. He bent down and picked up the watch.

“Whoa,” he said when he almost dropped it, after looking into the clear glass cover.

Instead of seeing the face of a watch through the glass, Dylan saw a man’s face, and his bare arms and legs. It looked as if he’d been stuffed into the pocket watch.

“Hey, be careful,” the naked old man inside the pocket watch said.

“Sorry,” Dylan responded without thinking.

“Press the top and open this thing. I’m getting cramps.”

Dylan didn’t immediately open the pocket watch. He turned it over in his hand to look at the back. It looked like tarnished sterling silver, and it was old. But where were the watch parts? He’d have to open the glass watch face to see what was inside. How did that old man fit inside? And the man inside was talking to him. How had he heard such a small man, who was closed inside a watch? 

Dylan could see the man’s face peaking from between his knees, which looked smashed against the glass. His legs were bent, and his knees were on either side of his body, with his ankles crossed. His toes were large and gross. He only had three fingers and a thumb on each hand. Dylan could see a cog embedded in the left side of his chest. He had a long, narrow face with a prominent chin, a wide nose, smallish eyes that were hard to see behind his goggle-like glasses, and no hair.

“You gonna stare all day, or are you gonna let me out?” he said, then yelled, “Let me out!”

Dylan’s fingers moved to the top of the watch and popped the cover open. It felt as if his fingers were moving of their own freewill, even though he tried to keep them from letting the little old man out. Something told him this old guy was trouble. T. R. O. U. B. L. E.

The man tumbled out and dropped to the grass. “Umph.”

Dylan blinked and when he opened his eyes, the old man was no longer small enough to fit into the watch. Dylan covered his eyes. “Dude, you’re naked. Your junk is hanging out for everyone to see.”

When he opened his eyes, the old guy had his hands over his crotch. “Sorry, I’m getting old. Things don’t always go the way I plan them.”

The old man did something Dylan didn’t see, and suddenly he was dressed in the same manner as the round man with the cats.

“Who are you? And where am I?” Dylan asked, now that he could comfortably look at the man.

“I’m Henry Gidiro, but my friends call me Hank.” He swept his hand across and in front of him, bowing deeply from his waist. When he stood again, he said, “And you’re the young and stupid Dylan Streetman.”

Dylan’s chin dropped, his mouth wide open. Just then, another bee swooped down at his mouth. 

Henry moved faster than a comic character, closing Dylan’s mouth with one hand and swinging his other hand in the air to ward off the bee. “Nasty things.”

“How do you know my name, Hank?” Dylan mumbled through his closed mouth, because Henry’s hand was still on his chin.

“It’s Henry to you, and I’ve been expecting you. You’re uglier than I expected,” he retorted, pulling his hand away.

About the Author:

Blair Drake believes in magic, especially the magic of stories with fantasy, adventures, romance, action, and surprises. She has loved writing and living in the stories of the Finding Magic series and is so excited to share the quests of the Gray Cliffs Academy students with her readers.

When she’s not writing about magic, she’s reading about it. Her influences are Cassandra Claire, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, Garth Nix, and many more.

In the mortal plane, following the lure of magic has drawn Blair into strange and wonderful adventures from Australia to New York City, with many stops in between. She currently lives near Denver. Her very favorite spot is a red loveseat in her office, frequently shared with two cats, an outnumbered Dalmation, and occasionally her bewitched husband.

She might have gone to a school similar to Gray Cliffs Academy and would love to go through a magic portal. In the meantime, she’s creating her own in more books of magic.







Release Blitz ~ Seaborn by Lena North ~ Paranormal Romance ~ #PNR ~ @lenanorthbooks @RABTBookTours


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Seaborn
Lena North
Paranormal Romance
Date Published: August 20, 2018
Publisher: FAB Books

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About the Book:

Charlie runs for her life, bruised and bleeding after yet another visit from her former boyfriend. The only one she can turn to is a colleague, and Carrie sends Charlie to her parents on the Islands, a safe haven where she can rest and heal.

Prepared to leave, things take an unexpected turn when Charlie finds out about the legacy some of the families on the Islands share, and how she has links to it.

Joao is about to propose to his girlfriend when his uncle calls to ask for help, and he arrives at his uncle Nico and aunt Pauline’s house to find an abused girl. As the Chief of Police and protector of the Islands, he’s used to handling situations like this, but then the girl opens her eyes and his world shifts. The turquoise gaze is a clear indication that the girl comes from the Islands, but it also cuts straight to his soul.

Charlie and Joao grow close as she adjusts to her new life, but then their lives are turned around yet again, and this time, there might not be a way back to who they were becoming together.

Seaborn is loosely linked to the Birds of a Feather series where Joao played a part in book #4, Black Snow. The story takes place after the series ends, but it is not a continuation and can be read standalone.

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Read an Excerpt:

There wasn’t any other way. I’d have to trust Carrie. We’d worked on the same team for two years and weren’t friends outside the office because I couldn’t have close friends. I’d tried but he drove them off, by being rude to them until they gave up, or telling me what would happen to them if I didn’t pull back, so I stopped calling and eventually, they did too. But Carrie and I were co-workers who talked every day, so in a way, we were friends after all. And Carrie knew who my former boyfriend was, and what he was capable of.

“Okay,” I whispered. “I’ll hold on to the phone for ten more minutes, then I’ll leave it behind.”

“Shit,” Carrie said again. “Okay. Shit. Move toward the airport, Lottie.”

I closed the call without saying goodbye and started walking. Everything hurt, but now I had a plan, and that gave me the strength to keep moving, step after agonizing step. I’d pulled the hood up to cover my face and used the arm to wipe off blood as I walked, hoping the dark blue color would hide the stains. The phone was in my hand, and I answered before the first silent buzz had come to an end.

“Yeah?”

“Benito is waiting for you. Side door, west of the building.”

“Side door, west of the building,” I echoed. “Carrie?”

“Yes?”

“Thanks.”

“Oh, Lottie...”

I could hear how Carrie sniffled but didn’t know what to say to assure her everything would be okay. It wasn’t okay, and I wasn’t sure it ever would be.

 “Carrie?” I rasped out, finally.

“Yes?”

“In my real life, the one I had before him… I wasn’t Lottie then. I had a real life once, and everyone called me Charlie.”

A sob came through the phone, and a quiet, “Oh, sweetie.”

“I’ll keep moving toward the airport now.”

Then I closed the call and started the long, painful walk toward my escape. I stopped outside a convenience store to put the phone in the back of a pick-up, hoping the owners wouldn’t get hurt if someone were tracing the signal.

When I reached the airport terminal, my head was spinning, and it felt as if I was stumbling along in a strange bubble where all sounds were warped, and the only emotion available was a dull, thumping pain.

“Side door, west of the building,” I repeated as a mantra, placing one foot in front of the other until I walked straight into a man.

“Jesus. Fuck, what the –”

I tried to smile and used the sleeve of her hoodie to wipe away sweat and blood from eyes which were swollen almost completely shut.

“Benito?” I asked.

“You’re Carries friend?”

“Yeah.”

“Jesus,” he repeated and reached for me.

“I’m good,” I mumbled and sidestepped. “No one can know I’m here.”

“I know,” he said. “Shit. Okay, let’s go.”

He led me around the building, through a gate, and over the tarmac. When I was sitting in one of the passenger seats, he tilted the chair all the way back and wrapped a blanket gently around me.

“Thank you,” I slurred. “Don’t talk about me on the radio.”

“What?”

“He might hear. There can’t be any trails to follow.”

“Okay, honey. Okay. Shit. Just rest, and we’ll leave in a few minutes.”

There was no way I’d relax, not as long as he could find me, but it was nice to take the weight off my aching foot and close the small slits that were my eyes. Then the engines roared, the plane started moving, and finally – we were in the air.

Silently, hot tears started running across my temples and into my dirty and blood-streaked hair. Two minutes later, I slept.

About the Author:

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The proper way to put it here would probably be to describe how I love to play with our two big dogs, adore my fantastic daughters and how much I love to read.

Another way would be to use my imagination and then I would be a super powerful warrior woman, think Xena the warrior princess (though with less tacky clothes). Or when I think of it, maybe I’m actually more of a Hercule Poirot (sans the suit and moustache). Or maybe I’m like Aragorn, strong and cool and then I might get to meet Gandalf! Or I could be Bella’s pretty cousin and snap Jacob up in a second (yeah, I’m so not team Edward), or wait, maybe I could be like one of them  heroines in historical novels who swoon all the time. I’ve always wanted to swoon…

Well, I guess you get how my mind is working (or not working, some say).

Anyways, I like to write. Stories, adventures, romantic and happy stuff mixed up with sorrow and hardship, and bit of laughter here and there because the way I see it – life is way too short to go around feeling grumpy.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Book #Review ~ Whispers in the Wood by Clarissa Johal @ClarissaJohal

Whispers in the WoodWhispers in the Wood by Clarissa Johal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Book:

It all began with an acorn.

There are some places you shouldn’t disturb, places where history lingers. When Rowan travels to England, she finds a remote village, hidden in the shadow of an ancient forest. Vague warnings from the local people aren’t enough to stop her from venturing into the trees, or from picking up a single acorn. It seemed a simple action. But when a stranger emerges from the forest claiming the acorn belongs to him, Rowan finds herself pulled into something both centuries old and deadly.

My Review:

Whispers in the Wood has easily become a new favorite paranormal novel. Written with wonderfully descriptive text, it is easy to visualize everything the author packed into this novel. The story takes place primarily in Sheep’s Crossing, a small village in England. For such a small town, this village is filled with large secrets, a mysterious forest, and mischievous children. Rowan gets pulled into the secrecy, not by her own accord, but the townsfolk are reluctant to disclose anything to her. She’s a stranger and the faster she blew through town the better.

Rowan is a strong, independent character that isn’t in the best place in her life in San Francisco, CA. While backpacking through Europe, she faces a couple unfortunate incidents that lead her to backpack blindly through the English countryside. It is then that Rowan finds herself on the doorstep of Sheep’s Crossing. Her trip to Sheep’s Crossing will forever change her.

The twists, turns, and psychological suspense in the book are phenomenal. The long running ancient elements of the novel give the book a tinge of horror. The book will pull you in and demand that you read the book from start to finish in one setting. I did not give in to the book’s demands, however, as I did have to adult during the timeframe I read the book. This is one of those books that calls to you when you are unable to read. It reminds you that the story is left unfinished. I read Whispers in the Wood at all available times. I usually read 2-3 books at a time. I didn’t with this novel. There was no room in my schedule for anything but Whispers in the Wood.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish and HIGHLY recommend it to lovers of paranormal, psychological suspense, and mild horror. The author did a wonderful job with the story, the characters, and the cover.

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Read an Excerpt from A Wolf Apart by Maria Vale and Enter the #Giveaway ~ #Paranormal @SourcebooksCasa

Can a human truly make room in her heart for the Wild?


About A Wolf Apart:

Thea Villalobos has long since given up trying to be what others expect of her. So in Elijah Sorensson she can see through the man of the world to a man who is passionate to the point of heartbreak. But something inside him is dying…

Elijah Sorensson has all kinds of outward success: bespoke suits, designer New York City apartment, women clamoring for his attention. Except Elijah despises the human life he’s forced to endure. He’s Alpha of his generation of the Great North Pack, and the wolf inside him will no longer be restrained…


Read an Excerpt:

Elijah intentionally lost a challenge that would have brought him back to Homelands. He is battered inside and out and turns to Thea, a woman he doesn’t have any claim on. But she takes him in and cares for his injuries (“a fight” is all he tells her) and when a snowstorm moves in, he stays. The peace he had hoped for turns to something else.


“‘The great man’”—I try to remember the quotes and strip away the emendations that John made, altering them to our circumstances; “the great wolf” was what he actually said—“‘is the one who in the midst of the crowd’”—John said “of humans”—“‘keeps with perfect sweetness the stillness of the forest.’”

She stares at her book for a moment and then puts her finger on a passage.

“The quote is ‘keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.’ I like yours though.”

“My old English teacher loved Emerson. But I learned it a long time ago. Must have mixed it up.”

Of course, I didn’t. The summer before we were to go Offland, Leonora did her best to make sure that those of us who were leaving understood how to appear human in the world they had re-created in their image.

John tried to do something altogether more subtle and difficult. Whatever disguises we were wearing, he wanted to make sure that we preserved the Homelands within us. He wanted us to make sure that there was a place for the wild inside, even if there wasn’t a place for it anywhere else.

“You liked your English teacher?”

“What? My… Yes. Very much. He was more than an English teacher. He was kind of the…head of our little rural community. We’re very tight-knit, but tempers can run short. He worked hard to keep everyone together.”

...

She dunks the tea bag a few times before fishing it out with a spoon and, wrapping the string around it, squeezes it dry. “Was it worth fighting for?”

“I didn’t win, if that’s what you mean.”

“Not really. A good fight isn’t about the outcome. It’s about knowing that you’ve made things better by trying.”

Then I hear Victor’s voice. “You will win, Alpha,” he says. My one advocate with his sour, judgmental voice and his sour, judgmental face.

“Honestly, I don’t know if it was worth fighting for. I don’t know anything anymore. And no one seems to know who I am.”

When she blows across her tea, she sends the damp-orchid-and-honey scent to my waiting nose.

“Do you? Know who you are?”

“Of course, I do,” I snap, all the Pack’s skepticism and my own self-doubt suddenly brought to a head by this woman who doesn’t know me from Adam. Then I remember what she is. A woman. A human. “I am a partner in one of the most powerful law firms in the country.”

“You’re not just a lawyer, any more than I am just an ECO.”

“So what else would you say you are?”

“All sorts of things. I’m a woman who doesn’t listen to music in the background, because that’s not actually listening. Who is a vegetarian gun owner. Who makes her living helping people but likes to be alone. Whose ancestors were on this landmass when the people who yell at her to ‘go home’ were sleeping with pigs in Europe. Who likes caffeine and Cheetos. Who was in a sorority for four months. Who is the daughter of dead parents and the sister of a dead brother.”

She lifts her tea to her lips.

“What happened to your family?”

“You’re changing the subject. I’m saying that I’ve never met anyone who was just one thing. Who was just ‘a lawyer.’ So, Elijah Sorensson, Esquire, what else are you?”

What else am I? I’m an exile. A disappointment. An Alpha without a Pack. A leader no one wants to follow. A flashy vessel hiding something unspeakably sacred and undeniably fragile. I am a monster: neither one thing nor the other, belonging nowhere.

“Lost,” I say, staring at the fire until my single working eye begins to dry out. “Just. Fucking. Lost.”

My throat feels achy and full, and I turn back to the page, pretending to read, because I feel her ironwood eyes on me, and I know what she sees: an angry, defensive, broken, defeated man in a human’s castoffs and with a wolf-ravaged, bruised-gourd face.

And then I feel something else. I feel Thea’s hand hanging loose between us. She has returned to her book, but the wordless invitation is there. The cabin being what it is, when I let my hand drape to the side of the bed, I’m close enough to touch her.

In the snow-muffled peace of no expectations, I stare sightless at the pages, every nerve focused on the shared heartbeat between our fingers.

When I finally look up from the blurred pages, the mottled fire is reflected in the warmth and welcome of her eyes. I can’t stop myself. I collapse to my knees, my head at her lap, my arm wrapped around her knees, silently asking if this woman who makes a living finding people can find me too.

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Promo Blitz ~ Mabel of the Anzacs (A Friendship for the Ages) by Mary D. Brooks ~ YA/Women’s Historical Fiction ~ @marydbrooksfic @RABTBookTours


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Mabel of the Anzacs
A Friendship for the Ages
Mary D. Brooks
YA/Women’s Historical Fiction
Date Published:  July 2018
Publisher: AUSXIP Publishing

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About the Book:

Two women - one a fiery teenager, the other a cantankerous octogenarian - find their mutual antipathy blossoms into an unlikely friendship in this heart-felt multigenerational story about finding a kindred spirit where you least expect it.

Zoe Lambros meets Mabel Andrews, a mercurial, cantankerous World War I Australian nurse. Zoe's introduction to the fiery octogenarian is an explosive mix of sound and fury. Neither woman wants to give ground and they are determined to be proven right. For Zoe, actions speak louder than words and she sets out to uncover the enigma that is Mabel Andrews. Mabel discovers a kindred spirit that leads to an unlikely friendship. Together the two women forge a close bond that will change their lives forever.

It's a friendship for the ages..

About the Author:


 photo Mabel of the Anzacs Author Logo Mary D. Brooks_zpsesebtmbz.jpg
Mary D. Brooks is a geek with too many imaginary friends who speak different languages (knew those language classes would come in handy). She is a historical romance and urban fantasy storyteller and addicted to stories and song about strength and courage. Mary plays well with others (for an introvert) but then retreats to talk and write about her imaginary friends.  She is passionate about lots of things that inspire the mind (art/design, psychology, science and tech) and that sets her muse on fire (she’s a busy lady!).



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Friday, August 17, 2018

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries "Garage Sale Mystery: Picture a Murder" Premiering this Sunday, Aug. 19th at 9pm/8c! #GarageSaleMysteries #Sleuthers @HallmarkMovie

(Photos used with permission from Hallmark)

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Programming Presents: 
Garage Sale Mystery: Picture a Murder Premiering this Sunday, Aug. 19th at 9pm/8c!

About Picture a Murder Starring Lori Loughlin and Sarah Strange:

After taking a vintage camera collection on consignment following the death of a local collector, garage sale guru and amateur sleuth Jennifer Shannon becomes involved in the search for a killer when an undeveloped photo in one of the cameras leads her to believe that the man might have died from very unnatural causes.

(Photos used with permission from Hallmark)

Watch the Preview for Picture a Murder:


More Information About Picture a Murder and Other Hallmark Programming Can Be Found Here:

(Photos used with permission from Hallmark)

Read an Excerpt from Upcoming Release of Through the Fire (Rocky Mountain K9 Unit) by Katie Ruggle #Romantic #Suspense @KatieRuggle @SourcebooksCasa #Giveaway

He’s tall.

He’s dark.

He’s brutally handsome…

And he may be her only hope.


About the Book:

Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit—they've been through too much to welcome a stranger. So when a killer strikes, it’s a fight to convince her fellow officers to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible.

She can’t do it on her own. What she needs most is a partner: local fire spotter Wesley March.

Wes knows in his heart that Kit is right, and he's willing to leave his lonely tower to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the hotter the fire smolders…and the more danger they're in. A member of the K9 unit's inner circle is determined to have her revenge—no matter who gets burned in the process.

This time, it's personal.


Read an Excerpt:

The snow crunched under Wes’s boots as he climbed. It was a beautiful day, with the late-afternoon sun shading to orange as it approached the mountain peaks it was about to hide behind, but Wes didn’t pay much attention to the scenery. He was intent on reaching the bat cave.

Despite its name, the bat cave was more of a rock overhang than a cave, but the bat part was true enough—it housed a good-sized colony of silver-haired bats. Researchers and animal-loving hikers frequently visited the location. Although Wes had gotten some striking photos at the bat cave, he hadn’t even brought his camera with him this time. He was more interested in the cell reception.

When the trail evened out, leading to a large, flat rock overhang, he pulled out his cell phone. Sure enough, he had reception. Finding his sister’s name in his short list of contacts, he called her. As he waited for her to answer, pacing back and forth across the granite ledge, he made a mental note to set up a cell-signal booster at the tower. He should’ve done it before, but he hadn’t missed phone service. Having to mindfully go somewhere with cell reception allowed him to control when and whom he called. It wasn’t enough now, though, not when there was someone he was hoping to call—as soon as he got her number.

“Wes!” Leila sounded winded. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong.” Well, nothing except his social skills when women—not including his sister—were around.

“Oh.” There was a pause. “I thought there was an emergency. You never call except for every other Sunday afternoon.”

“No emergency.” He tried to mentally plan out his question. “I need some advice.”

“Advice?” Another silence fell, and Wes could almost hear the gears in her brain turning. He smiled. Leila was even smarter than he was, and she was a whole lot more intuitive and perceptive. That’s why he was calling her. “Does this have something to do with a woman?”

“Yes.”

She squealed, the sound so excited that he smiled wider even as he winced and pulled the phone slightly away from his ear. “Are you dating someone? What’s her name? When do I get to meet her? What does she do? Is she funny? Pretty? Smart? A badass? Tell me details, Wes!”

“Answering most of your questions might be premature.” As much as he wanted to talk about Kit, Wes knew it could be dangerous. The more he said, the more real the possibility of something happening with her felt, and he didn’t want to build up hopes too high. After all, the more excited he got, the harder the disappointment would hit if she never wanted to talk to him again.

“Fine.” Although Leila was obviously trying to sound calm, Wes could tell that she was thrilled, and it made him wonder if he’d done the right thing by calling his sister. Now there might be two extremely disappointed people if nothing happened between him and Kit. “Just answer the basic ones, then. Are you dating?”

“No. We’ve only met three times.” He didn’t think their radio conversation counted.

“But you like her?”

“Yes. I like her.” It seemed like a barely adequate phrase to encompass the fizzing excitement he’d felt around her—and even later, when he was alone and thinking about her. “I’m…interested in her.” That didn’t seem much more accurate.

Leila let out another small squeal, and Wes looked up at the sky, even as he felt his face heat. “Sorry,” she said as if she could see his long-suffering expression. “That’s out of my system now. Back to basic questions. Is she interested in you?”

“I don’t know.” Crouching down, he absently picked up a few small pebbles, his brain fully occupied with the mystery that was K9 Officer Kit Jernigan. “That’s what I wanted to discuss with you.”

“Hang on. I think I need to get comfortable for this conversation.” There were a few rustling noises, and then Leila spoke again. “Okay. I’m ready. Let’s start with the first time you met. Tell me what happened.”

“I needed propane, so I refilled my tank at the station on the southeast side of town. I wanted to be back home before things got busy—”

“Wesley,” she interrupted. “I’ve been to your Podunk town, remember? It never gets busy. There are, like, ten buildings and eight people total.”

“The population of Monroe—”

“Nope. Don’t care. Tell me the story.”

It never hurt his feelings when Leila cut him off like that. In fact, he appreciated her directness. It was easier than trying to guess what a person was thinking by their body language or tactful words. “Four days ago, I was driving west on Mule Drive at six fifty-four, but I was forced to stop due to an SUV backing a small utility trailer into a driveway.” He frowned at the memory. “Attempting to back a small utility trailer into a driveway.”

“Go on. No, wait! Let me guess. Did you save this woman from getting run over?”

“No.”

“Oh.” She sounded disappointed. “Go on, then. What did happen?”

Wes smiled slightly. His sister was terrible at listening to stories. She didn’t have any patience, wanting to rush right to the conclusion instead. “After talking with the driver, I didn’t think she’d move the trailer into the driveway efficiently—which meant I’d be late—so I got out of my truck in order to help.”

“She was the driver?” Her voice was hushed, amusing Wes.

“Yes.”

“That’s so romantic!”

His eyebrows scrunched together. “It is?”

“Well, not really, I guess. I think I’m just anticipating that it’s going to be romantic soon. Go on… Get to the good part!”

He hesitated. “I’m not sure what you’d consider the good part.”

Her gusty sigh was audible. “Just tell me the rest. I’m dying of curiosity here!”

“I helped her get the trailer into her driveway and unhitched it.”

“And then?”

“She drove away.”

There was a long beat of silence. “That’s disappointing.”

“It was.”

“Did she tell you her name, at least?”

Wes found himself smiling. “Yes. Kit Jernigan.”

**Saph's Note**

I have read the entire series, including Through the Fire and it a 5 star series. I'm still trying to get caught up on writing reviews but check back on the blog in the near future for my review of the entire Rocky Mountain K9 series. You can't go wrong with a series by Katie Ruggle!

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Enter the Giveaway:

Top Ten Video Games by Dan Jolley, Author of Gray Widow's War (The Gray Widow Trilogy, Book 3) ~ @_DanJolley

 

Gray Widow's War Blog Tour August 13-19, 2018 

The final installment in USA Today Bestselling Author Dan Jolley’s Gray Widow Trilogy, Gray Widow’s War, is featured in a new blog tour set to take place August 13-19. Featuring a great heroine in Janey Sinclair, the Gray Widow, the series is action-packed and appeals to readers of many genres. With aliens and genetic mutations in the series, the Gray Widow Trilogy encompasses science fiction, urban fantasy and superhero fiction. The covers for this series were done by Dark Horse Comics artist John Nadeau.

Please welcome Dan Jolley to the Blog Today with a Top Tens List:

Top Ten Video Games
By Dan Jolley

10. Resident Evil 2

I first became aware of the original Resident Evil back in college. A friend of mine had been playing it, and brought it over to my apartment, telling me I had to try it out. The first thing that struck me, to no one’s surprise, was the now-infamous, spectacularly awful dialogue, but once I gave the game a chance, I realized how engaging the actual gameplay was. When RE 2 came out, not only did it have equally engaging gameplay, but the dialogue and story were also leaps and bounds ahead of the first one. I was hooked.

9. Fatal Frame

I had never seen a game like Fatal Frame when it came out. I played as a Japanese girl? Okay… and instead of a gun, or a sword, I’ve got a camera? Fine. And I’m supposed to take photos of ghosts? Huh. Let’s see how this goes. Well, it went spectacularly. The game was a veritable how-to course on establishing mood and atmosphere. Sometimes I still get a chill when I remember the sound of the mournful blinded ghost wailing, “My eyes…”

8. Resident Evil 4

This one took everything I already loved about the RE franchise and polished it to a gleaming shine. Loved the story, loved the gameplay, and for the first time I felt a genuine sense of menace and horror from some of the adversaries. The women with the skirts and the bandaged faces and the freaking chainsaws? The stuff of nightmares! I also loved the actual Spanish some of the bad guys spoke. “Morir es vivir…” To die is to live. Super-creepy. (Plus, once I unlocked the Mercenaries mini-game, I think I spent more time playing that than I did the main game.)

7. Silent Hill 1 & 2

By now you’ve probably noticed a theme in my game choices: I don’t go in much, or at all, for multi-player. I much prefer the kinds of games that let me wander around, figuring stuff out at my own pace (and often thinking to myself, “Now how do I get up there…?”) Silent Hill took everything I loved about Resident Evil, gave it an upgrade, and elevated the creepy factor by about 10. The second one had better graphics, smoother gameplay, and lost the punishing between-screens load times of the first game, but the thing about the first game that had me in awe was the siren-heralded transition between the real world and the rusted, corroded nightmare world. BRILLIANT. I wish they’d kept that.

6. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Confession time: I had never played a Witcher game before picking up the third one. I was afraid I’d be totally lost as far as the game lore, but it did an admirable job of remaining accessible. All I felt was that the main character had already met a lot of the NPCs before, and that they had substantial history, which was fine. It let me enjoy the smooth, satisfying gameplay without any undue distractions, and I really appreciated the vast, open-world nature of it. (Also, as far as this game goes, it’s redheads over brunettes all day long for me.)

5. Far Cry 3 & 4

These two perfectly embody the kind of game I enjoy most. I get to do things at my own speed, I can tackle obstacles the way I prefer, and the writing and acting are top-notch. I think the conventional wisdom is that 3 edges out 4 in general popularity, largely because of the supremely memorable villain Vaas Montenegro, but I can’t decide which I like better. Vaas *was* great, but I think I connected with the protagonist’s story a little better in 4. Heck, now I want to go play them both again.

4. Horizon: Zero Dawn

Where to begin with this? A world the likes of which I had never seen before… a badass yet believable female protagonist (which, if you’ve read any of my own writings, you know I love)… a story with a level of richness and detail that I don’t think I had encountered before. Plus, Lance Reddick should be in everything. H:ZD was great, top to bottom. The only reason this doesn’t occupy one of my top spots is that a couple of elements were so hard for me to figure out that I wound up consulting online forums to find them. (I’m looking at you, Shield-Weaver Armor.) I still give the game a nine out of ten, and can’t wait for a sequel.

3. World of Warcraft

There’s about a seven-year gap in my video game experience, thanks to World of Warcraft. When I got my first job writing for a video game, my boss asked me if I’d played any of the online games such as WoW. I said I hadn’t, because I had always feared it would take over my life. He suggested that I play WoW for “ten or twelve hours, just to get a feel for it.” Well, seven years later, I had multiple maxed-out characters over multiple servers, and had gotten so deep into it that I wound up writing some of the WoW manga stories for TokyoPop. But I never was much of a joiner, and I detested the thought of raiding, so the game eventually just sort of moved past me. I still get the occasional urge to log on as my Tauren Shaman and blast the crap out of a bunch of stuff, though.

2. Dying Light

I know this will come off as blatant self-promotion, since I wrote about 95% of Dying Light’s main story, but I’m actually not talking about the writing with this one. The team at Techland pulled off something extraordinary with DL’s gameplay. They managed to make “parkour vs. zombies” into a seamless, compelling, believable, and most of all FUN experience. Charging at full speed across rooftops, running along walls, dropping onto a zombie from a great height for a one-hit kill… all of it came together perfectly.

1. Skyrim


What can I say about Skyrim that hasn’t already been said by thousands and thousands of other fans? For my money, it’s basically the perfect game. The vast array of choices in character creation and in leveling up, the brilliant game mechanics, the acting, just…everything about it makes it my favorite game ever. Okay, so it’s not *perfect*. There are flaws—from too-often-repeated NPC dialogue to the occasional woolly mammoth dropping from the sky. But it’s fun, engaging, and makes me feel like some kind of mythical superhero. So it may not be perfect, but it’s perfect for me. No question.

**Fun Sapphyria Fact** 
The name Sapphyria is actually the name of my very first World of Warcraft player, created about 10 years ago. She is a Paladin Hunter and I still play her from time-to-time. When I decided I wanted to be a book blogger/reviewer I wanted a blog name that was distinctive and different. My husband suggested Sapphyria, after my WoW character, and the rest is history. 

 

About Gray Widow’s War: 

When Janey Sinclair vowed to use her ability to teleport from shadow to shadow to protect the city of Atlanta, she only wanted to spare others the kind of agony she’d endured herself. To prove that not all suffering is necessary. To heal the splinter-edged rifts in her own heart. But soon Janey realized she was part of something much larger. Something that spanned the globe… And reached beyond it. The forces behind Janey’s Augmentation—the authors of the grand experiment striving to use human DNA as raw material in a vast intergalactic conflict—have arrived on Earth. And if the planet is to survive, Janey Sinclair must unite friends and foes alike. Humanity itself hangs in the balance, as Janey wages the GRAY WIDOW’S WAR Gray Widow’s War is book three of the Gray Widow Trilogy. 


About the Author: 

Dan Jolley began writing professionally at age 19. Starting out in comic books, Dan has worked for major publishers such as DC (Firestorm), Marvel (Dr. Strange), Dark Horse (Aliens), and Image (G.I. Joe), and soon branched out into licensed-property novels (Star Trek), film novelizations (Iron Man), and original novels, including the Middle Grade Urban Fantasy series Five Elements and the Urban Sci-Fi Gray Widow Trilogy. Dan began writing for video games in 2007, and has contributed storylines, characters, and dialogue to titles such as Transformers: War for Cybertron, Prototype 2, and Dying Light, among others. Dan lives with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert felines in northwest Georgia, and enjoys connecting with readers via his website (www.danjolley.com) and on Twitter (@_DanJolley). 

Author Links: 
Website: www.danjolley.com 
Twitter: @_DanJolley 
Author Page on Amazon

Tour Schedule and Activities:

8/13 Jordan Hirsch jordanrhirsch.wordpress.com Review 
8/13 Shells interviews http://shellsinterviews.blogspot.com/ Guest Post 
8/14 Ally Books and Reviews https://allybooksandreviews.blogspot.com VLOG 
8/16 Breakeven Books https://breakevenbooks.com Author Interview 
8/17 Sapphyria's Books https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/ Top Ten's List 
8/18 The Seventh Star https://theseventhstarblog.com Guest Post 
8/19 Sheila's Guests and Reviews https://Sheiladeeth.blogspot.com Guest Post 

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