Beauty and the Bridesmaid by Lisa Souza [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

beauty and the bridesmaidLisa Souza will be on tour March 2-16 with her novel Beauty and the Bridesmaid

Could love be a nip/tuck away?

Having endured her mother’s fourthwedding, hypnotized by makeover shows and tempted by a Zvengali-esque image consultant named Kennedy J, über bridesmaid Dot Lindell launches into an odyssey of self improvement, plastic surgery and therapy.

Then new and improved Dot encounters former high school hottie John Miller. She begins a risky deception, convincing both John – and herself! – that she’s a totally different person. Maybe she can pull it off: after all, she’s unrecognizable.

But John introduces Dot to his best friend and that bully from her nightmares Jack Weston. Jack has changed since high school, too. He’s grown more dangerous.

Beauty and the Bridesmaid is a darkly comic tale of transformation and choices, frenemies and friendships, the heroic saga of a nice woman who only wants to look in the mirror and feel beautiful, but may find the price higher than she bargained.

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Excerpt

“She’s very pretty, Jasper.”

He shakes his head in denial. “She’s whiney.” The fine lines at the corner of his eyes crinkle, making him appear confused. “She’s got these fingernails like Wolverine’s.” He holds up his hands, makes a claw fist. “You know, the guy from X-Men?”

Secretly, I’m thrilled to hear this little stab at Penny Perfect. “Trying to get voted out of group?” This seems to go over his head. I switch course, “So how’d you meet?”

“She does my mom’s hair. Apparently that makes her perfect for me. Perhaps because we’re both unmarried and disease free. Well, I am anyway. A slam dunk, right?” He drops his voice a notch. “She has two kids by two different men and a ring through her belly button. She scares the crap out of me. And she brought her friend. She asked if she could bring her BFF along for company. I thought it was a book, or some weird breed of pocket dog. Instead she brings her girlfriend along.” He sighs heavily, shakes his head.

Note to self: introduce these two to Sean Driscoll ASAP. “So does your hairdresser know Rupert Rooney or the bride?”

“Neither as far as I know. My mom belongs to the bride’s bridge club. She sent me as her emissary while she’s off in Mexico on a cruise.”

I nod. “Ah, the ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ gals. Your mom’s a player?”

He stifles a laugh. “That’s not an expression I would normally equate with my mother, but yeah, that’s her group. I take it your mom’s with them too?”

I grin. “My mom’s the bride. Thus, the shocking fashion faux pas.” I wave at my dress.

He grins back. “No kidding? You know, Dot, she looks amazing. Really.”

Damn it she does. Which is great, honestly. Nothing quite says wonderful like your mom looking amazing at her forth wedding. A muscle in my cheek tenses up. “It’s nice of you to say so.” Everyone always does. Bless them.

The redhead struts over and drops a proprietary hand on Jasper’s arm. She snaps some chewing gum, an oddly infantile behavior in the face of this aging population. “You ready, Dr. J?”

I raise both eyebrows at Jasper. “Doctor?  Do you play basketball or carry a stethoscope?”

He finally achieves that fuchsia shade I feared. He dips his head toward the girl. “Tiffany, this is Dot Lindell. Dot, my date, Tiffany Bunch.”

I want to say something snide. I really do, but thank god for social niceties. “Nice to meet you, Tiffany.”

At that moment, Aunt Vonda sends out the stink eye from over at her position near the cake table. Rats. No time to grill my new friend Tiff about Jasper’s medical credentials. “Gotta go.” I pin Jasper with one last look, trying to read a profession there. Nothing. Clearly my career as a psychic has stalled. I do the hitchhiker thumb over my shoulder, aiming in Vonda’s direction. “Duty calls.”

“Nice seeing you, Dot.” He nearly stumbles when Tiffany tugs him off toward the bar.

From my spot behind the cake table, where I remain Velcroed by Aunt Vonda’s frequent glares, I observe the new couple do the honors. Mom and Rupert look like teenagers rather than a dignified married couple. Rupert Rooney, (who I’ve secretly been calling “Lord Rooney” given his stiff upper lip style), wipes smashed cake off his face and beard, eyes crinkling with laughter, while mom giggles behind her hand like a geisha. I’m struck by a sense of possibility. Maybe this one will work for her.

I know, I know. It’s the spiked punch talking.

Still, what if this is the real thing? What if this time mom has found that Vaseline covers the lens and she Rupert are running through a field of wildflowers into each others’ arms? What if this is real? I take a mental snapshot of them: Rupert’s hand a gentle brace in the small of her back, she leaning slightly into him, acknowledging the touch.

I swipe a fist at my damp face, leaving a thin trail of mascara on the back of my hand. No one thought to add pockets to the hibiscus dress, so I’m stuck without a Kleenex. I wipe the mess onto the side of the dress, leaving a dark smudge on the already vile fabric.

Good riddance.

I serve cake for hours. For days. Forever. My hands continue to push cake, but my brain takes a holiday, creates little mini movies. In one, John Miller sweeps in, demanding I dance with him. Magically, the loud dress I wear disappears replaced by some Barbara Cartland inspired ball gown. Like Barb’s heroines, my body in that dress appears waif-like, delicate.

Then Jasper Atkins – that’s DOCTOR Jasper Atkins – swaggers onto the dance floor wearing hospital scrubs. He drags me from John’s arms. The two face off, scowls of testosterone fueled anger on their faces as they prepare to fight for my hand.

So I’m a bit startled by Tiffany Bunch’s open palm shoved in my face. I lurch back, worried she plans on punching me out, before I come to: she wants cake. Her vacuous gaze makes it clear that she doesn’t recall our brief meeting, or more likely, chooses not to recall it. I’m just the help and she wants free cake. Give it.

I slap a broken piece on a plate, happy to note that it is a bit short on frosting. I shove it unnecessarily hard into her hand. It’s a paper plate. Maybe she’ll tear a nail? A girl can dream.

Eventually the new couple makes their exit, an exodus of their friends and family in their wake. I schlep behind the partygoers, tidying up so mom doesn’t lose her deposit. That’s the price for not helping with wedding plans. I pay the caterers with checks Rupert Rooney filled out in advance. I make a quick pass around the floor using an enormous mop head designed for the purpose, but refuse to go the extra mile and search for a dustpan. I cut the lights and lock the door behind me.

I’m alone in the dark in a sweat stained, mascara marked taffeta dress. There’s no one around to offer me a ride.

I have to ride the bus home in this damn dress.

 


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lisa souzaAuthor Bio:
Lisa Souza was raised on the mean streets of Spokane, Washington, one of five siblings wrestling for attention and hot meals.

She has a degree in English because both her husband and parents insisted she buck up and finish something. Without outside pressure, she fizzled out on an interior design program, bailed on computer science after two years, but rallied to complete her certification in hypnosis in 2012.

 

Lisa lives in the Snohomish Valley with her first husband Mark, (author of Robyn’s Egg), two stoic children, and Tater the rescue dog, whose ancestry is very much in question.

Website: http://www.lisasouza.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.souza.3348

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaSouza_WA

Goodreads: (still waiting for Author Profile Approval response)

Amazon “Buy” link: http://amzn.to/1uV2ZIH

GIVEAWAY!

Anyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a copy of Beauty and the Bridesmaid. Print copies will be available for US winners and eBook for international. Please leave your email in your comment!

New York Dolls by Catherine L. Hensley [BookBlitz]

new york dollsCatherine L. Hensley will be on tour January 5-12 with her novel New York Dolls

It’s Fashion Week in New York, and Denton Hodges just got her first big assignment for Glitter magazine.

Denton’s assignment: Get in the show at the posh Regency Viscount Hotel, and find a story. But a chance encounter with hard-partying starlet Amber Donovan forever changes the course of the night—and Denton’s life. After a night of being chased by the paparazzi, swimming in swag bags, and falling heart over heels for Hollywood hunk Chris West, Denton’s not just on the story. She is the story.

Suddenly, Denton’s no longer merely a low-level assistant. Amber’s latching on like a BFF from hell, Chris is flirting and cooking her dinner, and as Denton falls for the real people behind the tabloid screen, neither knows about her ties to Glitter. Only Denton holds the secret—or so she thinks. Is Anna Creel, Glitter’s icy beauty editor, on to her? Will Denton be able to write a story exposing her new friends? And is Chris more than just a friend, or did Glitter get the headline right—“Chris and Amber: Hot Nights!”?

Step into the spotlight, and peek beyond the red carpet in New York Dolls.

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Excerpt

I took Josie’s hand so as not to lose her to another bouncer this time. We made it onto the dance floor, weaving through the bumpers and grinders getting low, low, low. I spotted the doorway opening to the patio, finally, up ahead past the edge of the dance floor and to the side of the roped-off VIP area. Josie and I joined the line for the patio. Almost done, I kept thinking, like passing through this one final portal would be my rite of passage out of the tornado I’d gotten myself twisted up in. I wouldn’t have to lie that I’d been to the after-party. I could describe the scene, maybe see someone I recognized from the RV and get a quote. Or maybe Liz would buy an investigative journalism angle on this whole thing—“A Glitter World Exclusive: Reporter Denton Hodges Reveals Amber Donovan’s Hair Secret.” Play it like I was onto it all along.

And think of the material I could use—a puking Amber Donovan, needy, desperate, confused, not sure where she is or where she’s going, and Prince Charming Chris West, concerned, involved, pissed about having to make an appearance somewhere but willing to stay with you and make sure you’re all right, even giving you the shirt off his back. Who cares about what happened in between? I could take what I needed. This could be my exit—the patio outside and then a few slights of the pen. Waiting in that line, plotting so many ways to cover my ass and make it all neat and tidy, I felt dirty, and something more…something like…devious. For the first time since Liz had given me this assignment, I really felt like Anna Creel. Like I got the story, I did what I had to, and that’s all that matters, so go have a freaking fashionable night, because I’m…

“Denny!” MD was coming down the stairs from a VIP booth. “Oh my G!”

“Dee-Dee!” Amber pushed past the rope from the patio, tripping on her way toward me. Her purple wig had been replaced with a cherry-colored red one. “Oh my God, Dee-Dee! Where have you been? I neeeeeed you!”

“Anna?” That voice. I hope I’ll see you around.

I remembered his voice. He came up behind me and put his hand on my lower back. “Do you want to get out of here?” Why yes, Chris West, yes, actually I do. I don’t think I have the scoop on the story anymore. I am the story.


catherine hensleyBio:
Catherine L. Hensley is a professional freelance editor and writer. From fiction and nonfiction manuscripts to academic pieces, she provides an extensive range of copyediting, proofreading, content editing, and writing services to a wide variety of clients located around the United States and abroad.

A native of south Louisiana, Catherine received her master of arts degree in creative writing and media studies from New York University and her bachelor of arts degree in English from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, with minors in history and mass communication. Her writing has appeared in The Advocate (Louisiana’s largest newspaper), OT Practice magazine, Quiet Mountain: New Feminist Essays, and Mused, the BellaOnline Literary Review. For more, visit www.catherinehensley.com.

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Milked by Lisa Doyle [BookBlitz]

milked lisa doyle

By and large, Amanda Keane makes pretty good decisions. Okay, she might not have the best taste in men, but she’s got great friends, a good job, and an independent spirit. That is, until her 30th birthday ushers in a whirlwind romance with a sexy Irish musician who leaves her, not at the altar as she imagined, but accidentally pregnant. And when he disappears, she’s downsized out of a job, her apartment is robbed, and lapsed health insurance coverage leaves her with a C-section to pay for, Amanda is launched headfirst into the life of a broke single mom. But her friend and uber successful ob-gyn, Joy, clues her in to an unlikely temp position with one of Chicago’s celebrity elite that just may be the answer to all her woes. Or could it be just the beginning?

It’s with serious trepidation that Amanda embarks on her surprisingly lucrative new career: underground wet nurse to the offspring of Chi-town’s rich and famous. Amanda must quickly understand how to live at the whims and mercy of the one percent as she deals with the irony of nursing – and loving – someone else’s child, while still making ends meet for her own daughter. And then there’s Cute Daycare Dad (aka Dan), who’s obviously interested in her. But can she afford to tell him what she really does for a living? Is her new job (something she thought went out with the 19th century) a shameful thing? Just another way of selling her body? Or does it have something to teach her after all?

A novel of motherhood, its many demands, and all the little triumphs along the way, MILKED is a warm and witty debut about making tough choices and traveling the roundabout road to happiness.

 

Excerpt

 

“Can you hear me?” said a slight, wiry man with glasses and an authentic Irish brogue. I hadn’t even noticed as a full band of six—no, seven—guys had assembled in the corner of the bar. And oh God, Eamonn was standing there holding a violin. (Is there an Irish word for violin? Would they call it a fiddle?) This was possibly better than a guitar.

“Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Failte,” said the older man, and we all applauded. The band started out with a lively piece and some of the presumably regular patrons started clapping and cheering.

Over the next hour, I sat transfixed watching them (okay, him) as the rest of my group kept chattering away. It wasn’t just his looks that made him sexy; it was the way his hands moved on the violin, how he put his whole body into the song, how he was so in tune with the rest of the group. There were so many more of them than you’d see in a typical bar band, and they all had to play off of each other, producing these amazing harmonies. There was another violinist (fiddler?) playing as well, but I could pick out Eamonn’s the entire night. It sounded sweeter. I had never appreciated Irish music at all before that night. In fact, I had thought it was kind of cheesy. There was nothing cheesy about the way Eamonn looked playing it.

Anthony, good sport that he had been, begged off at ten, citing an early call schedule starting the next day.

“Thank you for the wine,” I said, giving him a pat on the hand as he left. He nodded and left. Meg and Henry soon followed, giving me quick hugs goodbye.

Just then, Eamonn took the microphone from its stand. “We’ve got time for just one more song tonight. I understand there’s a lass here celebrating a birthday?” His eyes scanned the room for about half a second before landing on mine.

Oh, God. I managed a small wave as my friends started to clap and hoot in my direction.

“Any requests, love?” he asked, wiping a little sweat from his brow.

Crap. I didn’t know any Irish songs.

“Er. Something by U2, maybe?” I squeaked out.

He conferred with his bandmates for a moment. They all then left the stage except for Eamonn. He pulled a stool up closer to the microphone and set it back in its stand, then adjusted it for height. He sat down, wiped his brow again, then smiled at me and started to play.

A hush fell over the bar as he alone proceeded to play the most extraordinary version of “All I Want Is You.” Everyone was enraptured at this point, not just me. It was so melodious, so hauntingly beautiful and unlike anything I’d ever heard. I’d never been hugely into violin music before, but I knew I’d never listen to one the same way again.

When he played the last lines, it was like the end of a massage. I felt so refreshed, so relaxed, but damned if I didn’t wish it was longer. The bar erupted in applause, and Eamonn stood up to take a small bow. The wiry man returned to the stage and said, “How ’bout my nephew?” and gave Eamonn a large pat on the back.

Leigh turned to me after the cheers had died down.

“Seriously. If you don’t sleep with that guy tonight, I will,” Leigh whispered.

Let me just tell you that thirty-year-old me had never had a one-night stand before. And by definition, thirty-two-year-old me hasn’t either, thank you very much. I just wanted to make that clear. Leigh, on the other hand, she was kind of slutty. A great friend, sure, but she would be the first to admit she had lost track of her magic number halfway through her twenties.

“I’m not sleeping with anyone tonight, all right?” I said. But that’s not to say I was going to walk out that door and never see that guy again. Hell, no. I grabbed a coaster from the center of the table, and scribbled the words “Birthday Girl” and my cell phone number on it.

 

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lisa doyle

 

Author Bio:

Lisa Doyle is a communications manager and freelance writer based in the Chicago area. A native of Hinsdale, Illinois and a graduate of Miami University, she spent several years editing business-to-business publications for the personal care industry before moving to the nonprofit sector, and currently works in advocacy for homeless families at Bridge Communities in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She has written for major beauty trade publications (Global Cosmetic Industry, Skin Inc, Salon Today, Modern Salon, Renew, Suburban Life) and is a contributor to WOMEN REINVENTED: TRUE STORIES OF EMPOWERMENT AND CHANGE (LaChance Publishing, 2010). Doyle is represented by Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary, Inc., a full-service agency based in New York. For more about Lisa, please visit herwebsite.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bylisadoyle

Twitter: @bylisadoyle

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www.simonandfig.com


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Missed Spelled by Sarah Belle [Guest Post]

 

miss spelled

 

Blurb

Magic Realism mixes with romantic comedy in this new novel from Sarah Belle about the dangers of internet shopping – and using magic to solve real world problems.  

Lou’s life is perfect. She loves her job, her renovated house, and most of all, her gorgeous fiancé, Aidan. But when her old flame and Aidan’s school yard nemesis turn out to be the same person, Hunter Wincott, Lou’s life is blown apart. She must divulge her secret past, or have Hunter give it away. Either way, she runs the real risk of losing Aidan.

In desperation, she turns to Google. A quick search turns up Majique, the Internet Witch, and a spell that will delete herself from Hunter’s memory. But something goes wrong in the casting process, and Lou deletes much more than just a memory. She deletes herself from her life completely.

Luckily, there’s a one-week window for Lou to get back to the life she loved. One week to win back Aidan, before he walks down the aisle with the wrong woman and ruins their shared dream of happiness. It would be easy, if only Aidan had any idea who Lou actually is.

 

Guest Post

 

‘Miss Spelled’ is set in my old hometown of Melbourne, Australia, and seeing as Sophie is keen to come down under one day, I thought it would be a bit of fun to share an excerpt from ‘Miss Spelled’ where the lead characters, Lou and Aidan are standing in the Eureka Sky Deck, a glass cube suspended on the side of the Eureka Tower, 88 storeys above ground. It is the highest viewing platform in the southern hemisphere and the view is breathtaking.

eurekaskydeck-melbournecity

The lights go out and I can’t see a thing. It’s pitch black. But despite the temporary blindness, there’s the sense that there is a great, cavernous void between my feet and solid ground, the thought of which makes my shoulders tighten and rise up towards my earlobes.

“Close your eyes,” Aiden says. “It will help your eyes to adjust quicker.”

I do as he says and can feel the sway of the building in the wind, underneath my feet. My thigh muscles tighten in readiness to turn and run. As the fear starts to consume me again, Aiden stands behind me and wraps his arms around my shaking body. With his guidance, we walk the three metres to the far wall of the cube, where my fingers automatically clutch the railing in front of me. Eyes still closed, my grip is such that my knuckles feel like they are about to pop out of the skin.

Aiden puts his hands over mine and intertwines our fingers. Even though it means I have less of a grip on the railing, their warmth and strength is welcome, and my heart rate slows a fraction.

My body shudders slightly as he steps closer, his hips now pressing firmly against the small of my back, his thighs resting against the back of my legs. There is no gap between our bodies. He has become my blanket, my warmth.

“Now, open your eyes,” Aiden whispers. His warm breath wafts past my ear and I can feel the pressure of his chest against my back. The fine wool of his suit feels cool and soft against my bare skin, but does little to conceal the contours of Aiden’s lean, muscled chest beneath it.

Not wanting to lose this moment of oneness, my eyes slowly open to be greeted by a magical land of lights that stretch out forever around me, on all sides. The usually mundane street, traffic and building lights take on the appearance of an enchanted wonderland, and the cloudless sky twinkles with a million stars as though heaven is reaching down towards us. If it weren’t for the pane of glass between the us and the sky, I may be able to reach out and brush a star with my fingertips.

               A feeling of peace washes over me like a cleansing waterfall, as I allow myself to be lost in the beauty and magic of everything around me. Floating amongst the stars is beautiful with the feel of Aiden’s body against mine, his heart beating at my back, his breath against my skin. If this moment never ended, if it lasted for eternity, it wouldn’t be long enough.

“Oh Aiden! It’s so…so…incredibly beautiful. Look at it. Who would think that a smelly old city could be transformed into this…magical kingdom.”

“Over there,” he points to the left, our fingers still intertwined, “is your house, and a bit further over is your parent’s house.” My eyes followed his fingers. “ Down there is my office, and just over there is your school.”

As beautiful as the view is, I can only see Aiden’s long fingers wrapped around my own. My hands moisten in his as my heart rate speeds up, but not out of fear this time.

His voice is low, barely above a whisper. I tilt my head to the side slightly so that his breath touches skin of my neck. It tickles in a very pleasurable way and even though our fingers are still intertwined, mine are tingling with the need to touch him, to feel the warmth of his body underneath them.

A small groan escapes me as a delicious shiver works its way up my spine.

“And down there is my apartment where I intend to take you after this, so I can feel every part of your naked body pressed against mine,” he says as his lips touch my exposed neck and shoulders.

I inhale deeply, taking in the mixture of Aiden’s woody aftershave and his own scent. It’s intoxicating and leaves me feeling light headed. He smells delicious, and my desire to have him now is too overpowering to deny any longer. I spin around to face him.

“Why wait until we get home?” I say, and then reach up to take his lips with mine. It’s as though I could devour him on the spot, not caring whether or not people can see us.

He lifts me up onto the railing as my hands work quickly to release him from his trousers and wrap my thighs around his hips. The heat between us has risen to the point that the cube has now fogged up, leaving only the promise of the lit wonderland on the outside as a dull reminder that other humans exist.

eurekaskydeck-melbournecity

 

 

 Author Bio

Sarah Belle started her professional life in the hospitality industry, working in some of the roughest hotels in Melbourne in the late Eighties, surrounded by drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, and undercover police. Tiring of the inherent dangers of her working environment, Sarah completed a business degree and went on to work in the recruitment industry where she met and married the man of her dreams. They have four young sons and live on the beautiful Queensland coast, where Sarah’s days are spent being a frazzled mum, writer, Bikram Yoga devotee, a Naughty Ninja and the only woman in a house of five males.

 

 

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The Position by Dahlia Salvatore [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

ThePosition

 

Dylan Farrow puts on his pants every morning one leg at a time, just like everyone else at the Kerrigan Advertising Agency. He handles high-pressure projects with a fast turnaround. He’s prized for his keen intellect and admirable performance. But how did he get where he is today—to the level of Junior Executive of Design Production?

Well, that involves how he takes his pants off…
and for whom…

Hoping to break through the glass ceiling under which she’s been trapped for years, Valerie Caplan picks up her life and moves to Seattle. After hearing about the position of Senior Executive of Design Production from an art director at Kerrigan, she decides to apply. When she lands the big interview, she never thinks for a minute that she’ll have any serious competition. She assumes that she has the job in the bag…until she discovers that the only competition has something she doesn’t have—the willingness to go outside the office to impress Danica Stewart, their uptight female boss.

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the position button
Excerpt

Chapter 1

(Valerie)

The wind rushed around me as I stood on the balcony and looked out at downtown Seattle. From my apartment on the sixteenth floor, I could see the space needle and the lights glittering on as the sun set over the Puget Sound. I’d always wanted to live by water. I took in a lungful of air. It was different than the mountain air I was used to in Denver. In this breath, I could taste the sea.

I smiled. I’d never set foot in the city before today, but I could already tell I was going to love it. The opportunities seemed endless and I felt freer than ever before to pursue them. That was especially true because I wasn’t working and had a ton of time on my hands. Unfortunately, I’d given up on most of my hobbies and extra-curricular activities in order to climb the ladder. I was a self-professed workaholic, and, so far, I liked it that way.

Being that I’d given up most social obligations, I didn’t have many friends. There were maybe two or three in Denver, but they had families and their own lives, so we didn’t see each other often. In Seattle, I had one friend—one—and I’d only known him for two months, and only because of my job connections.

In Denver, I’d worked for Trinity Advertising Corp. They were a medium-sized company, but slowly gaining popularity and clout. My problem had been that I wasn’t gaining enough ground for comfort. I was too ambitious to enjoy a stagnant life. This move was about climbing further and becoming more than I’d been before. At Trinity, I’d hit the dreaded glass ceiling and moving on became my top priority. That’s why I had gone to Seattle, on the recommendation of a man who barely knew me.

Chuck had recommended me to his boss for a position as Senior Executive of Design Production. That meant I was going to be overseeing several Art Directors, who in turn oversaw the teams which produced the company’s biggest projects. I badly wanted the job and I damned sure deserved it. Because I’d put so much of myself into making every line on my resume count, I was confident. Maybe overly so, since I’d moved to Seattle before I even landed the position. My plan-b was to apply at the other ad agencies if that job fell through. Anything was better than Trinity, right?

I turned back into the apartment and slid the glass door closed. The emptiness seemed bigger than any sound I could possibly make, but nevertheless, I found the box labeled “sound system” and unpacked my iPod docking station and set it up on the floor. I looked up my eighties mix and suddenly the apartment was filled with Billy Idol’s voice, from the hardwoods to the beams of the vaulted ceiling.

I smiled, dropped onto my butt in the middle of the boxes and began making the empty rooms into a home. After just a few hours, the kitchen and bathroom were completely unpacked. I estimated that

Break time, I thought, wandering into the kitchen. I rinsed out a dusty wineglass and uncorked a year-old bottle of Prosecco. While I leaned on the high granite-top breakfast bar, I felt the evil stab of loneliness convict me of sucking at life. I wished I had someone who I could share this experience with. It would be fun to listen to Madonna and drink with a friend.

It could have been the wine hitting my empty stomach, but I was called to action by a voice in my head saying ‘That’s enough!’ The voice was right. It was time to branch out, meet new people, form relationships—and maybe even find a man. God, I need to get laid, I thought, refilling my glass. I clutched the drink with both hands, bringing it to my lips—Oh, yes, my friend wine. … Reveal to me what I should do with my life.


Author Bio

Dahlia Salvatore is a thirty-two-year-old female author living in Seattle, Washington with her husband. She comes from Coos Bay, Oregon and moved to Seattle six years ago. She loves the west coast and doesn’t see herself anywhere else.
Her influences include contemporary writers J.K. Rowling, Mary Balogh, Christina Dodd, Stephanie Laurens, Laurell K. Hamilton, Anne Rice, Stephen King, and many many others.

 

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Vacation by JC Miller [Bookblitz + Giveaway]

VacationCover

 

Dr. William Koval, a pragmatist with little faith in humanity, prefers to dwell in the eerily comforting microscopic realm, where he is master of his domain. But his worldview is upended when he decides to go on the English walking tour his wife had been planning before her murder three years earlier. Only when William confronts his past, including his troubled marriage, will he find a way to rejoin the living, to move forward, and perhaps love again. The real journey, he discovers, lies within.

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Excerpt

Jacked up on endorphins he ventured downtown. On a whim he decided to check out a high-end men’s clothing store, Les Hommes. Entering the shop, he was immediately struck by the theater, the drama. The crisp scent of fine fabrics, the artful yet calculated display of footwear. Stacks of shirts folded with military precision, arranged not by color, but texture. In spite of the pageantry, the shop appeared deserted. Other than a lone gentleman browsing neckties, William was alone.
Before he had a chance to duck out a woman emerged from backstage to ambush him. “Are you looking for anything in particular?”
“I’m looking for something a little more summery, I suppose.”
“What’s the occasion?”
Her question flummoxed him. What was the occasion? “It’s a date, kind of a date.”
She tilted her head to one side, looking him over. “Lucky woman,” she concluded.

 

JC MillerAuthor Bio:

JC (Jeanne) Miller, M.A., is an educator and founding member of JAM, an editorial-consultation team. An avid reader, aspiring traveler and table tennis enthusiast, she resides in Northern California.

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Essence by A.L Waddington [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

 

Essence AL Waddington

 

Jocelyn Timmons does not believe she is anything special — just an ordinary high school senior, living an ordinary life full of school-work, volleyball and friends. She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

Jackson Chandler moved in to the house across the street. His dark wavy hair, green eyes and charismatic personality draws everyone to him. Everyone, but Jocelyn.

Whenever Jackson gets near Jocelyn she feels ill and dizzy. When he touches her, she blacks out and has visions of another life, in another time. As the odd hallucinations evolve and become clearer, she feels a strong pull towards the people she sees there. Frightened, she watches her once stable life begin to crumble around her and she begins to question her own sanity.

Could it be possible that these episodes are actually her own memories of a life she is living somehow, somewhere, some-when? Maybe this is time-travel or some other paranormal mysticism? Our minds often wander, but can our souls?

 

Excerpt

 

About an hour into the movie, I heard footsteps on the stairs. I was curled up in the corner of the sofa with my arms wrapped around a pillow and covered by a throw blanket, enjoying the movie, when Jenna, who was sitting next to me, smiled as Kyle came into view. Turning, I realized that Jackson was with him; and immediately, the same nausea and lightheadedness I had experienced earlier swept over me. I closed my eyes, regretting the pizza rolls I had just eaten. Then Kyle and Jackson, much to my horror, squeezed in between Jenna and I on the couch. Kyle made brief introductions to everyone while my eyes remained closed. I tried hard to give the impression that I had fallen asleep. I didn’t want to move. I tried to convince myself that if I just remained still with my eyes closed I would not vomit all over Jackson. I just had to pretend that this beautiful creature was not only inches from me, so close I could barely move my hand and be touching him. I struggled to breathe.

I heard Caitlyn ask after some time has lapsed, “When did Jocelyn fall asleep?”

“She wasn’t feeling well earlier. I think she’s just worn out,” Jenna replied.

“I hope that someday I might actually get to meet her,” Jackson said.

“She’s really nice. Honestly.” Hilary came to my defense. “She’s just a little shy sometimes.”

“Shy?” Ethan challenged, “My sister? Hardly. She’s never shy when she’s yelling at me!” He laughed.

“That’s only because you’re a constant pain in her ass,” Jenna piped back.

I knew she was giving him her smart-ass grin, and I had to fight not to smile myself…

 

 

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Author Bio:

A. L. Waddington grew up in a small town in Indiana and always had a vivid and overactive imagination. She loves music, playing sports, and can be quite mischievous at times. She has been known to play practical jokes on occasion and is a firm believer in the theory of organized chaos. She has a slight al waddingtonaddiction to coffee and gummy bears. When she’s not hidden behind her laptop or buried in a book, she can be found working in her gardens, cheering on her favorite team, the Indianapolis Colts, or trying to lose that last stubborn ten pounds. She graduated with her BS in psychology from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. A. L. and her family reside in Indiana.

 

 

 

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The Tantalizing Tale of a Bitter Sweetheart by Jessica Ashley Dafoe

 

 

unnamed

 

Chick Lit

 

Successful, lucky in love, taking the world by storm?…..not quite. Portia Delaney is down on her luck, disgruntled in a dead- end, mind- numbing career with little prospects and is not even close to finding a stimulating romance to take her mind off her lack-luster situation. Her defeatist attitude and awkward idiosyncrasies don’t help much either. But with rock bottom comes a choice, lie down and enjoy the cold and barren ground beneath, or climb that ladder of success to the top. Portia finally sets out to do just that. With a fantastic group of friends and a bit of fateful circumstance on her side, she begins her trek up and out of the despair filled trenches. Her dwindling negativity is replaced with an energy that takes her on the adventure of a lifetime to the City of Light and beyond. A new romance, a lead on a job of her dreams and the support of the best friends a girl could ask for, have her believing that nothing can go wrong. Or could it? It’s not all champagne and celebration on the climb to the top and Portia soon finds out that with success, often comes hardships and unwelcome competition.

Excerpt

“Portia!! Portia!! Get up already! You’re about a zillion minutes late for your first day. Come on you lazy imp!”

Oh, I hate being torn out of a lovely slumber when I’m in the middle of the most wonderful dream; woken up by the horrendous bellowing of none other than my meddling, unbearable roommate, Minnie. The dream was perfection, and waking to a reality that can only be described as the exact opposite of perfection, is highly undesirable, yet this similar feeling each morning as I come to, has been my lot in life.

I slowly open one eye to see a familiar, thin, curly haired red head glaring at me from my bedroom doorway. I quickly shut it and feign being back in a deep sleep. Why oh why can’t I wake up to a dark haired, charming and handsome man as opposed to this?

“I saw that, Portia Delaney!” she sounds frustrated. “Not only are you late, but you’re making me late too, because I’m doing my duty as your friend and roommate to be sure that you don’t screw this one up! Now get on with it! Up, up, up!”

At this point she has found her way to the bottom of my bed and is now dragging me by my perfectly pedicured feet, because you never know when you may end up on a date with a gentleman who is won over by a well-cared for set of tootsies, (although I haven’t been on a date with a “gentleman” in over 6 months), and has just about gotten me to the point of full on bailing off the bed when I give in.

“OK! OK! You maniac! I’m up and I can be ready in 5 minutes flat, so get your skinny rear out of my room and let me get myself together. Thank you and please be on your way now.” I quickly jump to my feet after Minnie has unhanded them, and sternly guide her out into the hall slamming the door behind her. “Have a lovely day!” I manage to say in a sharp and clearly irritated voice.

Minnie is a workaholic, freakishly organized, highly paid executive at an ad agency. Why she still wants or needs a roommate is beyond me. I suppose it’s because work is her life and any ounce of energy she has, she wants to be poured into her career, not her home life or even love life for that matter. Minnie is the power-hungry career oriented woman who honestly, no word of a lie, could not give a damn whether she ever marries or has a family of her own. Sometimes I wish I had that mindset, because I, Portia Delaney, am ever hopelessly focused on finding that one soul mate

Now what? Dressed, yes I must choose an outfit for the first day at yet another mind-numbing, low paying office job at yet another medical office.  I really want to be styling the rich and famous, not to mention designing clothes that are intended to be strutted down the runways of Paris and Milan; not to be stuck in a dead end job that has me working for pompous and self- absorbed doctors, who get to drive off in their luxury cars and head home to their glamorous trophy wives not to mention who give absolutely no notice of the front desk help. Why didn’t I listen to my heart instead of my nagging parents?

Alright, outfit, yes outfit. Well this is the most inexcusable tidbit of all. I’m here selecting an outfit for a first day at a job where my only selection can be from an assortment of various coloured scrubs, when I want to be making a selection between Gucci and Versace.  Lavender it is, I suppose. With that disgruntled decision made, I reach for my terribly ordinary lavender scrubs, quickly pull them on, jet into the bathroom and whisk a brush through my hair while applying a pinch of foundation and blush. A bit of tinted lip gloss and a quick once over with the toothbrush and I’m set to go. Yes to go to my …well…bore of a career. Pay increase or not, just the thought of getting compensated to give up my dreams on a daily basis makes my stomach turn, and anxiety take over.

“But enough of this negativity Portia Delaney” I say out loud to my reflection in the hall mirror, “You are a successful, adorable, intelligent, creative and inspirational woman with amazing potential. For you nothing is impossible!” Ok, so do I actually believe this bunk… not a word. My shrink surely is trying to make me think I do, but let’s face it I’m at rock bottom with S.O.S. carved in the sand and flare guns blazing.

I suppose, however, there is nowhere to go but up.  Work is blah, love life is blah, family life is… well, is what it is. My friends are mostly amazing, but sometimes having great friends, who seem to have it all together, just help to highlight everything lacking in your own life. With that summation of my view on my life circumstance, I slip on my god awful, yet comfy crocs, grab my Mark Jacobs purse, because I must still demonstrate some good taste in my daily wardrobe, and strut out the door while working those lavender scrubs to the max.

Author BioJessica Ashley Dafoe resides in Toronto where she is an educator by day and a literary enthusiast and writer by night. She attained her BA in English Literature at The University of Ottawa and her B Ed at Brock and Queen’s University.
jessica ashley dafoe
When Jessica does not have her nose in a book or is not scribbling out her ideas for her newest tantalizing tales, she’s most likely keeping busy trying out various exciting activities and delicious cuisine that the great city of Toronto has to offer or planning her next getaway to her immediate destination of choice. The travelling bug bites her often.

A romantic comedy addict to the core, she enjoys all things silly, frivolous and emotionally endearing which is the reason she writes stories that encompass all of these qualities.

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Fuzzy Logic by Susan C Daffron [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

fuzzy logic

Contemporary

Librarian Jan Carpenter likes things just so. Nestled in her tidy little cottage on the outskirts of the small hamlet of Alpine Grove, she enjoys her quiet life with her friendly, rotund black lab, Rosa. 

Jan’s orderly life is turned upside down when she attends her mother’s latest wedding in San Diego. (Number six…or maybe seven, but who’s counting?) There, Jan encounters Michael Lawson, the obnoxious neighbor kid from twenty years ago. He’s still irritating, but not as annoying as his dog who has a habit of eating…everything. The last thing Jan wants to do is risk heartache on a vacation fling with a smooth-talking serial dater, even if he is sinfully gorgeous and finds her unusual ability to remember obscure facts fascinating. 

Amidst wardrobe destruction, canine digestive indiscretions, and episodes of extreme mortification, Jan’s desire to avoid drama may put the brakes on her fiery attraction to Michael. But maybe being cautious and responsible isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

Excerpt

This is part of the scene where the main character, Jan, is on the plane to San Diego. She explains to the person in the seat next to her why she is taking the trip.

~~~

Ethel tilted her head, causing the ossified bluish curls on her head to shift in an unnatural way. “Why are you going to San Diego?”

Jan sighed a little too loudly. Maybe Ethel wouldn’t notice. “My mother is getting married.”

Ethel straightened in her seat and leaned closer to Jan. “That’s wonderful! I love weddings. Who is the lucky man?  What does he do? Are you excited? It’s beautiful to see such an expression of love. Where are they getting married?”

It was apparent that Ethel had not been retrieving breath mints out of her suitcase. Jan replied slowly, “Well, they are getting married on the beach. The man was actually her next-door neighbor many years ago. I knew him when I was growing up.” Jan shrugged. “I don’t know if I’m excited exactly. But it will probably be interesting.”

“Interesting? But weddings are so gorgeous. The flowers! The lovely food! How can you not just adore that?”

Jan twisted in her seat, leaning her back away toward the window. If she were any farther away from Ethel, she’d be outside the plane. Discussing anything related to her mother was never fun. “My mother tends to do things differently, I guess.”

“What do you mean differently? It’s a wedding! There are traditions. People say vows!”

“Well, I think for one thing, there will be a puppet show.”

The woman looked slightly taken aback, but then smiled knowingly. “Oh, is it one of those sex-puppet shows? I’ve never seen that at a wedding. But it could be fun.”

Jan didn’t know what a sex-puppet show was. And she didn’t want to know. She’d seen way too many puppet shows in her lifetime as it was. “No, no, nothing like that. My mother was on local children’s television for a long time. She was the assistant to The Farmer, the kid’s TV show in San Diego. She did the puppet shows with the sock-puppet farm animals.”

“You mother is the Farm Lady? I loved her. My kids loved her. My grandkids love her in the reruns. Oh my goodness me, I can’t believe I’m sitting next to the daughter of the Farm Lady. This is so exciting! Oh and the Farm Lady is getting married? How wonderful for her! Is she finally marrying the Farmer?”

After so many years, Jan was used to people knowing her mother as the Farm Lady with the sock puppets. And it never failed to embarrass her. Years of being teased at school by other kids making every possible form of revolting farm noise was hard to shake. The pig sounds were to the point that she still couldn’t eat bacon. And what people didn’t know was that the wholesome sweet TV persona was nothing like the real woman, Angie Carpenter. Responsible motherly farm matron, she certainly was not. “Maybe you didn’t hear, but Bob Myers, the Farmer, died a few years ago and the show went off the air. The man my mother is marrying is in the plumbing business.”

Ethel narrowed her eyes and gave Jan a knowing look, “Oh, plumbers make a lot of money. He must be a great catch. How did their love blossom? I’m sure there’s a romantic story there.”

“I don’t know how romantic it is. Like I said, we were neighbors a long time ago, but he was on television, too. They met again recently on a retrospective special that featured stars from old TV shows and commercials. If you saw the ads for the Toilet King years ago, that’s him.”

Ethel clapped her hands together, “My heavens! The Farm Lady is marrying the Toilet King! I can’t wait to tell all my friends. Does he still have purple hair and wear the blue jumpsuit? I just loved those commercials with the swirling and all that.”

“I haven’t seen him in a long time. I live in Alpine Grove now.”

 

Author Bio

Susan Daffron is the author of the Alpine Grove Romantic Comedies, a series of novels that feature residents of the small town of Alpine Grove and their various quirky dogs and cats. She is also an award-winning author of many nonfiction books, including several about pets and animal rescue. She lives insusan c daffron a small town in northern Idaho and shares her life with her husband, two dogs and a cat–the last three, all “rescues.” You can read more about her at her website SusanDaffron.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What I Learned in College by Addison Winters

What I Really Learned in College

 

Erotica

 

Alex Rose is a 32-year-old divorced mother of two, looking for a better life for her and her sons. In search of answers, she returns to college to finally get that degree she’s always dreamed of. What she finds is something she wasn’t even looking for.

Mason Brooks is every girl’s dream: 21 years old, tall, with dirty blond hair that curls when it’s wet, sea-blue eyes, and dimples. Hot, sexy…and deliciously naïve and innocent.

Enter a tantalizing world where an average soccer mom utilizes her newfound knowledge of psychology to make life just a little more interesting. Follow along as Alex educates Mason on the art of seducing and pleasing a woman. Take notes as she introduces him to a whole new level of intensity and sexual pleasure. Study the sensual art of tantric sex as Alex creates her own style of silk and lace female dominance.

This little tryst will never survive past college–but Alex is determined to enjoy it the fullest while it lasts.

 

 Excerpt

We spent the next several weeks until the end of the semester continuing our naughty little tryst on the afternoons after class. We would disappear to my house four days a week and play for hours. I had turned into the instructor and Mason my willing and eager student. And as time went by, he stayed later and later, under the guise of studying. At least until mid-May, when he mentioned to Max that he had played on his high school baseball team as catcher also. After that, Max was sold. As soon as he’d come home after school, he’d have Mason outside practicing. It wasn’t long before Max had invited him to watch his practices which, of course, led to Saturday morning games.

Lisa and Kim had gotten used to his presence and had stopped teasing me about my beanie boy, at least when he was around. However, the other moms . . . they were a problem. It was bad enough, in general, I was an easy ten years younger than the vast majority of them. Most were successful career women or die-hard stay at home moms. They viewed Lisa and me as social pariahs and a threat to their happy little lives. The married ones felt threatened that we’d flirt with their husbands and the divorced crones hated us for having something akin to a social life. The sidelines at any junior league sporting event reminded me of being back in high school it was so cliquey.

And the majority of these women were vicious. If their husbands so much as spoke to us, their claws came out. It was common to see any one of these women casually waltz over to her husband’s side, place a hand on his arm—a clear claim of ownership, and smile through her fangs as a warning. It was pathetic how sad these women were. They might as well pee a little circle all around their husbands cause that was exactly what they were doing.  And the divorced ones were even worse. They truly considered us their competition if not their enemy.  They envied our energy and our age. There was an invisible line drawn on every set of bleachers regardless of the sport.

Now, they wanted to begrudge me Mason. I could hear the whispers behind my back about his age, how they called me a cougar when they thought I couldn’t hear them, or the looks of disapproval they would glare at me whenever I looked their direction. I knew they were jealous. There was no way in hell these ladies could ever have a twenty-one year old cabana boy as sexy as Mason.

And it didn’t take long for word to spread. Memorial weekend, I was getting breakfast ready while the boys, Mason included, were playing X-box when my cell phone rang.

“Hello,” I answered without looking first at the number and immediately regretting it.

“Good morning, doll. How are you?” A familiar voice greeted me.

“What do you want Danny?” Annoyance immediately took over. “You know I got Max a cell phone so we don’t have to have these pleasant conversations.”

“I called to talk to you. I have been hearing some interesting things about you lately and I was curious. After all, I am concerned about my boys.”

“Good grief, Danny. What do you want?” I flipped the blueberry pancakes and leaned against the counter.

“I heard you were having a naughty little affair with the paper boy,” he said, trying not to laugh.

“What? Who told you that?” That was the very last thing I expected to come out of his mouth.

“A little birdie told me.”

“Imagine that.” Max must have told him about Mason helping him with baseball and how much time he was spending over here, even after our class was done.

“So, how old is this kid anyway?”

“What I do or who I do is none of your business, Danny.” I tapped my fingers on the counter.

“It’s my business when he’s spending so much time with my sons,” he countered.

“You gave up that right when you gave me sole custody and decided to move across the country. You have no right to say anything about what I do. I would never do anything inappropriate around them, in front of them, or anywhere near them. You know I wouldn’t. Don’t you give me any shit. God only knows what you’re doing down there.” I walked out onto the back deck so no one would hear me.

“Geez, Alex, don’t get your panties in a bunch. I was just teasing you.” He laughed. “Seriously, though, how old is this kid?”

“That’s none of your damn business.” He’s such an ass.

“Oh come on, I’m only playing. What happened to your sense of humor? You used to have one.” He chuckled.

“I don’t know, maybe it went away when my low-life of a husband cheated on me?” I stated flatly.

“Ouch, you might want to get that checked soon. Alex, or you could turn into a real bitter bitch.” His laughter made me wish I could slap him across his smug face.

“I’m hanging up now.”

“Wait, Alex. Seriously, Max told me you were happy.” His laughter died away. “He said you try to play off that you two are only friends but he knows there’s something going on between you two. He said he can tell by the way Mason looks at you that he’s in love with you.”

“Max told you that?” I turned around and looked at my back door half expecting Mason or Max to be standing there.

“Yes, he told me that last night. So why are you trying to hide your relationship from the boys? You obviously like this man,” Danny inquired.

“Jesus, Danny. Really? Why do you think? Mason is younger than me.” I sighed audibly. “Okay, a lot younger than me. He’s twenty-one.” I closed my eyes and waited for that to sink in.

“Good Lord, Alex. He’s a child! What the hell are you thinking?” He laughed again. “When Max said younger than you, I was thinking he was twenty-six or twenty-eight, not twenty-one!”

“It’s just a fling, Danny. That’s all.”

“Does he know that?”

“I don’t know,” I answered honestly.

“You may want to tell him before this kid gets too attached to you or the boys to him,” he pointed out. I hated him for actually acting like the responsible adult when I should have been.

“I know,” I whispered. “I will.”

 

 

Author BioAddison Winters graduated from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis with a BS in psychology. She loves music, can be found “dancing” around her house when no one’s home, and is notorious for blowing the speakers out on her car. She’s been known to surprise her children with Jell-O balloon fights and to pull “devious” pranks on her friends. Addison enjoys playing basketball and addison winterssoftball and is proud to be the team captain for the Happy Hooters in the Striking Out Cancer, annual Ladies Softball Tournament. She is also an avid reader and enjoys spending time in her gardens and with her family. She and her husband, Monte, have three children, three puppies, and an oversized cat. They reside in Indiana.

 

 

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The Mission by CC Solomon [BookBlitz]

 

21528924

 

The Mission by CC Solomon

 

Chick Lit

 

 

Rule #6: Be mysterious, but always approachable…keep him wanting more!

Rule #11: Always remember, no sex in the beginning. Make him wait!

Rule #19: You’ve got to give a little to get a little. Be giving of yourself, and it will make a lasting impression to keep your Mr. Right.

Sheila and Denise are successful, funny and attractive, but very single women. Not that being single is horrible; but when Denise is hassled to have a date to an old friend’s wedding-of-the-century, and Shelia needs an escort to an industry banquet where everyone who’s anyone will be in attendance, being single loses its perks. To add to the dilemma, Sheila tells a little white lie to her workplace nemesis about dating a successful music producer, which explodes into a career-threatening rumor. Under extreme pressure from family, friends and coworkers, they resort to making a pact. Their Mission: Get A Man in Three Months. They will use “proven” rules to finding their Mr. Rights. Rules that worked for a friend of a friend …how hard could it be?

Join them in their hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking adventures as chapter by chapter they follow a new rule, and delve into the treacherous world of Washington, D.C. dating. The gal pals suffer through speed dating (Sam Needs-a-Bath). They allow themselves to be set up on blind dates (Bitter Crying Kevin). They try a dating service (Apron-Strings Adrian). They try the bar scene (Smoky the Bear who smokes more than cigars). They even meet men in the beauty salon (Javier Not Quite Straight). And there’s more, much more. Surrounded by family drama, workplace stressors and their own hang-ups about love, will the rules actually help them find their Mr. Rights in time for their events?

Excerpt

 

Chapter Twenty

Rule #19: You’ve got to give a little to get a little. Be giving of yourself, and it will make a lasting impression to keep your Mr. Right.

Some people were natural givers, and others were natural takers. I didn’t think that was the case with Terrance and me, but ever since our argument where we’d both divulged more than we’d planned, we had been pretty tight-lipped. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, it’s just that I didn’t see the point in bringing up memories of his dead father, or discussing his alcoholic mother. It would just be too painful for him, and I had no advice to give. So my best role was to be a place he could escape all that. I assumed he felt the same because he hadn’t bothered me about how I was doing with my father, or trying to build a relationship with my stepmother.

Maybe that wasn’t the right way to go, but I just wanted the good stuff right now. For once I just wanted to hold onto that good feeling about a guy, and push away the fact that he came from a family with mental illness, and what the risk of that could be genetically if by some miracle we were to last, get married, and have kids. It was depressing, and I needed to focus on the good. Pessimism was too commonplace for me. So for now, sharing was not caring.

I was thinking all this as I excused myself and went to Terrance’s bathroom that evening after a wonderful meal he’d prepared for me quite out of the blue. Men did not call me on a Tuesday evening and say ‘hey, can I cook you dinner?’ And if they did, I was automatically suspicious, thinking they just wanted to find an excuse to get me in their house to try to hook up. No man is that giving. However, Terrance and I had already had sex, so at this point I could let go of suspicion.

He was a really good cook to my surprise, but some of the spinach from the salad he’d made had taken up residence in between my teeth, and I couldn’t ignore the yucky feeling. I looked in the bathroom mirror and tried to push the offending vegetable bit out with a fingernail, all ladylike, but when that didn’t work I opened up his medicine cabinet to see if he had any dental floss. Despite the stereotype about British teeth, his were quite nice and, like I hoped, there was floss… right next to several prescription bottles.

Ignoring them was the thing to do. I mean, I shouldn’t have even opened the cabinet in the first place. But I truly had honest intentions, and now that I had seen them, I couldn’t just ignore them. And my eyes couldn’t just not see the titles of the prescriptions, and I couldn’t just not take out my smartphone and confirm my suspicion about the use of these drugs on the Internet. And I couldn’t just not read that those medications were, like I thought, associated with depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Suddenly all I wanted was an escape or a do-over. But now that I knew, I couldn’t just un-know. It seemed the good times were over. I rolled my eyes in frustration. Why was I always getting the maladjusted guys? Then I immediately felt guilty for thinking that. Terrance had been through a lot in his life; who wouldn’t be depressed every now and then? But he never told me. Then again, I reasoned, it was his business, at least for now. I didn’t share all my health issues. Heck, I didn’t even tell him when I was on my period; why would he tell me when he was feeling a little down? Of course I was assuming that this was all it was, that it wasn’t something more serious.

I just couldn’t ignore it because something like this, much like my impending period, was bound to rear its ugly head and mess up everyone’s day. The question now was how to broach the topic. If only I could call Sheila to get some advice; but something this personal I just couldn’t share. I’d have to channel my inner Murder She Wrote and get to the truth on my own.

I went into the kitchen where Terrance was washing a pot. I grabbed the dish towel right before he reached for it. “Let me help.”

He smiled and shook his head. “You don’t have to.”

“And yet I want to.” I took the pot from him. “That dinner was so good, Terrance. Really. I think I needed that spinach. Isn’t there iron in it? Did you know I’m anemic, and I have a vitamin D deficiency?”

“Really?” he replied, scrubbing vigorously at another pot.

“You should just let that soak. Yeah, between taking pills for iron, vitamin D, a women’s multivitamin and now going on the pill, I feel like an old person. I have to get one of those pill cases.”

Terrance chuckled as he filled the pot with hot water to soak it.

“You take any pills?” Hmm, didn’t feel as smooth a transition as I would have liked.

Apparently Terrance didn’t think so either, because he gave me squinted eyes, turned the water off, then moved away from the counter. “Take it you saw my drug supply in the cupboard?” he asked, his back to me.

I put the pan I was drying down. “I was looking for dental floss and just glanced at them. I mean, it’s your business, you don’t have to share. It’s no biggie.” It was a biggie, please share so I can stop freaking out.

 

 

 

Author Bio
C.C. is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and has actively written fiction since the age of eleven. She is an avid “chick lit” reader and urban fantasy fan. In 2012, she participated as a writer and actress in the 48 hour film project. In her other life, she works in cc solomonEqual Employment and Civil Rights for the Federal Government. Before becoming a public servant, C.C. briefly practiced law after graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law. C.C. currently resides in the Washington D.C. area and is an active blogger. The Mission is C.C.’s first novel and she is working on her next novel in the genre of urban fantasy.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Achilles Heel by Karyn Rae [BookBlitz]

 

 

22239234

 

Blurb

Annie Whitman’s ordinary Midwest life is shattered with the sudden death of her husband Jack. Thirty-five and failing at life as a widow, she turns to the comforts of vodka in an attempt to camouflage the cold sheets of an empty bed. The necessary inebriation helps her to cope with Jack’s death, but proves to be a deterrent in recovering any sense of normalcy. After spending several months at the bottom of a bottle, Annie stumbles upon a lockbox in the crawl space of her basement. Opening this box also opens her eyes to the likelihood that Jack Whitman might not have been the honest and doting man she married.

Annie embarks on a mission to the Virgin Islands to uncover the truth about her husband’s past and seek safety from her brother-in-law, who seems to be the captain of his own sinking ship. While settling into paradise, she meets the wickedly handsome, but surprisingly reserved Kessler Carlisle, who is struggling with his retirement from country music superstardom. With Kessler’s help, Annie discovers the heart’s uncanny ability to heal, and the possibility that dead men don’t always keep their secrets-even if they’re buried in the Caribbean waters of St. Croix.
The Achilles Heel delves into the formidable fact that everyone harbors darkness, and some will go to the depths of the ocean to keep their secrets hidden.

 

Excerpt

 

ANNIE

Don’t put your hat on. Please don’t put your hat on.

Crossing my fingers like a grade school child wishing for a snowstorm in August, I watched him take his time as he gathered what looked to be papers, but I wasn’t quite sure. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly while grabbing his hat from the dashboard. For some reason, I had the notion if he didn’t put on the hat to complete his uniform, this visit would be somewhat less official. He noticed me standing in the sliver of the window framing my front door. He paused, shut his car door, and straightened his trousers a tad- when one goes from sitting to standing and is between pant sizes. Finally, he put on that goddamn hat.

As he walked towards the door, gravel from the driveway crunched under his heavy black boots. Streaks of sweat ran down his sunlit glistened face. His heavily starched shirt sported a soaking wet “V” on the chest connecting to the wetness under both arms. With record high temperatures in Kansas City reaching 106 during the first week of June, I was secretly glad he was hot, and it almost made me happy to think he might be suffering a bit. Our eyes made contact when he reached the red-brick porch steps, and I knew. He could have turned around, got back in his police car and never said a word to me; his eyes told me the whole story. Maybe his eyes didn’t tell me the entire story, but they certainly implied the most important part- the ending. As he stood on the opposing side of the window, the glare from his name badge which read GRADY shone in my right eye, causing me to wince.

“Ma’am,” he asked through the double paned glass. “Are you all right?”

I just stood there, staring blankly. Why is he here to ask me if I’m okay? Is this guy a fucking idiot? What cop comes to someone’s front door, scares the hell out of them, and opens with a question like, “Ma’am, are you all right?” I was doing just fine before he pulled into my driveway.

“Ma’am,” he started again, as he tapped on the window trying to get my attention and break the paralyzing trance holding me motionless. “Are you okay? You’re bleeding!”

At that moment, I tasted the blood. As I mentally calculated his every move from the car to the door, knowing he wasn’t here to give me stellar news (cops don’t randomly show up at your house for no reason) I hadn’t noticed I was biting down on my lip. It must have been hard, because the blood was now running down the side of my chin.

I tried to answer, but only felt air pass between my lips; my voice lost in translation. I nodded my head up and down in a “Yes” motion.

Officer Grady asked, “Are you Annie Whitman, the wife of a Mr. Jack Whitman?”

Again with the up and down, “Yes,” motion.

“Could you please open the door?” he asked. “I’d like to come in and speak with you for a moment.”

I reluctantly but automatically obeyed, and the creak of the screen door was synonymous with a horror movie. Apparently, I was the main character.

“Ma’am, your husband was in an accident on the highway this morning. There were no survivors. We believe he was killed upon impact and have launched an investigation into the crash, but unfortunately, we don’t know many details yet. I’m so very sorry to bring you this devastating news. Is there someone you can call to come be with you right now?”

“No, no, you’re wrong,” I croaked, with a broken and raspy voice like someone infested with the forty-eight hour flu. “My husband is at work, and this is a mistake.” I tried again, but only fragments of sound spit into the air. I wasn’t forming recognizable words. “I’ll just call him, and we can clear this up. You’ll see it’s just terrible mistake,” I stammered, as I pulled my cell phone off the deep-chested entry table and tried to will my hands to stop shaking enough to dial the number.

“Oh, no, Jack, no,” I whispered through gritted teeth when the call went straight to his voicemail.

I dialed again. “Shit. No. Please, no,” my voiced squeaked as I paced back and forth. With my right hand barely sturdy enough to hold the phone to my ear and my left hand tucked tightly under the opposing armpit, I filled my fingers full of skin, pinching down as hard as possible in an attempt to divert the pain of feeling my heart rip apart.

Officer Grady extended his arms and shifted his feet each time I shuffled near him, initiating words of comfort, but quickly realizing his efforts were powerless when dealing with someone who’s rapidly sinking in the quicksand of denial.

Finally, he stepped into my path, and with a tight grip on both slumping shoulders, softly turned me around to face him.

The fact that I had bitten entirely through a small portion of my bottom lip seemed to startle him, and while the stream of blood continued to remain constant, he gently took control of my breakdown. “Mrs. Whitman,” he whispered. “Who should I call? You need someone with you right now. Please, is there someone I can call for you?”

This time a small and childlike “Yes,” escaped through my bloody lips. I felt like it shouldn’t take so much effort to say one little word, a word we use a hundred times a day, but it was hard and completely exhausting. It was as if the sound from this three letter word had held my lips apart just long enough for my soul to escape.

He pulled out a bandana, applying pressure to my mouth, and in exchange, I handed him my cell phone with the contact name Jamie lit up in blue letters on the screen. Someone would need to tell my brother-in-law that his older brother Jack was dead.

As Officer Grady took the phone from my hand, a tiny, purple orb slowly drifted past my line of vision and across his chest. Confused, my eyes followed the speck, only to see it suddenly multiply a thousand times, and then each orb began to swell. The purple color faded to the outside of the circle and a bead of light replaced the center like the dimmer switch on an LED bulb. Trying to blink the beacons away only seemed to make them brighter, and within moments the fluorescent illumination blinded me. The weight of my body became too burdensome for my legs, even my hair felt heavy. As if I were riding on a roller coaster and cresting the highest peak, I closed my eyes to the brightness just as I felt myself plummeting to the ground.

My name is Andrea Whitman and those were the last moments of this life as I knew them.

 

 

Author Bio
Karyn Rae is an emerging Romantic-Suspense author. Her debut novel, The Achilles Heel was released in May 2014. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. Karyn resides in Missouri with her husband, son, daughter, and chocolate lab- Augusta Mae.Head Shots

The first part of Karyn’s life was spent in the South, and the last fifteen years have played out in the Midwest, but she’s still holding on to a shred of her Southern roots. She is a wife, mother, daughter, and sister who has made it her mission in life to carve out a career for herself, while keeping the husband and the children happy.

 

 

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Bloodpledge by Tima Maria Lacoba [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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Paranormal

 

Blurb

Bloodpledge continues Alec and Laura’s story from Bloodgifted. Having undergone the Ritual and induction into the vampire community, Laura— the prophesised Child of Light and Darkness and last of the Ingenii—takes her place as Alec’s consort and First Lady of the Brethren. But resentment and anger grow at Alec’s privileged position as daywalker.

Among a powerful few, alliances are made and conspiracies formed, threatening a war that could destroy them all and endanger every human on Earth—creatures who would do anything to prevent the curse from ending. Now Alec and Laura must invoke the Pledge, an ancient ceremony that enforces Brethren loyalty to the Principate.

When Laura’s ex-boyfriend, Detective Inspector Matt Sommers, turns up with a threat that could expose Alec, the battle for their world and their lives begins.

 

Excerpt

 

 

People were about—strolling to cars, or loading shopping bags into back of them. I couldn’t unsheathe my sword here. As if he sensed me following, Stockton stopped, turned and looked back. I ducked behind one of the concrete pillars. I heard him sniff. Had he caught my scent?

In a sudden burst of speed, he took off. I gave chase, but he kept to the populated streets, heading for the centre of the city—Hyde Park. Although lit by tree lights, there were many dark spots where Brethren could feed uninterrupted. If that was his intention, I was about to spoil it for him.

As I unsheathed my sword, I became aware of another, darker presence—Rasputin.

In the shadows of the giant Morton Bay fig trees I stood, until I spied him on the stone seating that ringed the Archibald Fountain. A laughing group of humans passed, and his eyes narrowed into slits.

My hand tingled as I ran my thumb along the hilt of my sword.

He was choosing his prey. His hands, mere stumps covered by the black gloves he wore, rested on his lap. He would have difficulty grabbing his prey, unless Stockton helped. I smiled when I thought of the way he’d lost his hands and my chest swelled with pride—my Laura.

Stockton strode up to him.

They would be unaware of me; unaware of being observed until I strode into their midst. The Serpent Ring blocked their senses.

Now, I thought. I can take them both out.

My scalp prickled as Stockton said, ‘Is he here?’

Rasputin grinned and his gaze seemed to pinpoint exactly where I stood. ‘Yes. I can feel him. The others?’

‘Sacrificing themselves for you.’

‘As they should.’ He laughed.

Leading Marcus and Terens on a chase, I’ll be damned. I gripped the sword tightly, took stock of my surroundings—no humans around, and the moon behind clouds.

‘Come out, Princeps. Let’s face one another,’ Rasputin said.

How the hell did he know? The Serpent Ring on my hand flared for an instant, and I didn’t need to look to know its eyes had turned black. My senses tingled as I picked up the presence of at least a dozen Brethren—not Principate supporters.

A trap, and I had walked right into it.

 

 

 

Author Bio

 

 

Hi, I’m Tima Maria, and I write vampire books, but not just any vamp books – mine are Roman soldiers cursed by a Pictish witch in the 3rd century.

So, how did I start this series? In a previous life (before I started writing) I was a practicing archaeologist and historian, specializing in Roman Britain. Later, I took up high school teaching, as It gave me the opportunity to take my students on overseas excursions to visit the amazing archaeological sites they’d only seen in books.

Then one day, I surrendered to the itch of writing. After many years reading and correcting my students’ creative writing tasks and essays, I decided it was time to write my own. I couldn’t hold it in any longer.tima maria lacoba

Bloodgifted is the result.

In 2011, it was shortlisted in the Atlas Award – sponsored by a boutique Brisbane publisher – and eventually came fourth.

In 2012, it was listed among the top ten in the Choclit, Search for an Aussie Star Competition.

In 2013, I was offered a publishing contract, but declined in favour of going indie. I liked the idea of being in charge of my own creation.

Bloodgifted is just the start of a three part series I’ve entitled, The Dantonville Legacy. Later, I intend writing individual books on the other characters in the series, for they all have their own story.

Currently, I live on the Central Coast, an hour’s drive north of Sydney, surrounded by wooded hills, possums and seed-dropping rosellas. Between bouts of writing, I teach English and History, enjoy long walks while dodging the nesting magpies and plot the next series of books I’d like to write.

 

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Not Quite Dead by Lyla Payne [BookBlitz]

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Blurb

 

A broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps’s failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she’s having a heck of time convincing the town’s dashing young mayor of her unfit-for-dating status.

When the ghost of 18th century lady pirate Anne Bonny starts insisting on a near daily audience, Graciela has to confront something else she never expected—being certifiably nuts at twenty-five years old.

Her brand new “I don’t give a crap” attitude makes it easy to dismiss the mysterious threats that seem to be tied to her search for more information on the long dead pirate, but when her family becomes a target, Gracie knows she needs to find out why the ghost insists on being a constant, reeking companion.

If Graciela can put aside her prejudice against people without a pulse, she may discover that Anne Bonny’s problems are intricately linked with her own. The past harbors answers could help the cantankerous spirit find closure, but she is, after all, already dead. If Graciela doesn’t move fast, she might find herself doing the haunting, instead of the other way around.

Excerpt

I ignore the hand, getting to my feet and brushing dirt off my dress before confronting its owner.
A man with an overly strong jaw and wavy, sun-kissed brown hair watches me with humor sparkling in his hazel eyes. Too bad he picked the wrong girl in the wrong year, because nothing about getting knocked on my ass strikes me as humorous.
Undaunted by the cocked eyebrow I shoot his direction, he keeps a hand out, now poised for a shake. “Beauregard Drayton.”
“That’s a mouthful,” I mumble, searching the ground for my purse. It’s lying in a puddle, which stirs up more irritation, as does the fact that he hasn’t moved. He’s tall, at least six foot three, and even under the blue pinstriped suit and red tie, there’s no secret why he felt like bricks. His face is hard, too—all rough angles and sharp cheekbones.
His eyes are soft, though, and the enticing mixture of green, blue, and gold still reflects amusement. “Well, what do you think?”
“About you?” I shrug, even though I didn’t mean to study him quite so openly. “Typical.”
“Interesting.”
“Actually, typical is the opposite of interesting.” I shoulder past him and continue toward my destination, annoyance tightening my chest when the sound of expensive shoes clicks on the sidewalk behind me.
Beauregard Drayton catches up, then slows his pace to match mine. It would have behooved me to drive to the Wreck, apparently. Or skip it all together, no matter how the thought of their fish tacos makes me drool.
“You can call me Beau, everyone does,” he comments, as though we’ve been carrying on a conversation.
“Thanks.”
“What should I call you?”
It’s clear my rudeness isn’t going to make him go away, and the part of me that was raised below the Mason-Dixon Line blushes in shame at my behavior. Grams would tan my hide if she could see me now. The thought of her stern, loving expression makes me relent, along with the fact that my eventful morning has worn me out. I don’t have the energy to outmaneuver him.
“Graciela Harper.”
“Lovely to meet you. Where are you going?”
The fact that he doesn’t comment on my different name moves him up in my estimation. Still, his nosiness makes me sigh. Loudly. “To get some lunch.”
“Are you meeting someone?”
“Yes. His name is Vlad and he lives to drink the blood of persistent, well-dressed men, so I suggest you run along.”
“Really? Dracula’s making a midday appearance in Heron Creek? Did you call the paper? Danny’s is going to be mad if he misses out on the interview opportunity.”

Author Bio

Lyla Payne has been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us –lyla payne past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey. Lyla’s hard at work, ALWAYS, and hopes to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.

 

Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

 

 

Links

If you want to know more, please visit her at http://lylapayne.com

If you’re a fan of Young Adult fiction–science fiction or otherwise–please check out her work that’s published under the name Trisha Leigh. http://trishaleigh.com

 

 

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A Horse Named Joe by Lisa Loomis [BookBlitz]

AHorseNamedJoeCover

 

 

Contemporary

Blurb

Roni Dugan, a wealthy investment banker from Wall Street, life continues to unravel two years after the financial meltdown of 2008. An intriguing story, which follows her to a small island in the Bahamas, Green Turtle Cay. Can the island, a horse named Joe, and a shy Bahamian dock master, help her to see life differently?

This novel will amuse and subject you to a whole other world and culture where friendship, love, and self discovery abound.

 

 

Excerpt

“Does it bother you that I come to talk?” Roni asked.

“Nah, it not bodder me,” Devin said.

“Come on, tell me you like it,” she goaded. “I bet you don’t have many girls who come to chat, especially white girls.”

“Nat many,” he said.

“Oh, come on, none is more like it,” Roni challenged. “Do you play any card games?”

Roni liked a contest.

“Nah. I play dominoes.”

“You got dominoes here?” she asked.

“Yez,” he said.

“Well, let’s play,” Roni said.

Devin gave her a distrustful look again.

“What, are you afraid I’ll beat you?” she dared.

“Nah, ain’ afraid. Gals don’ play dominoes,” Devin said seriously.

Roni laughed until tears ran from her eyes. Devin stared at her grinning, obviously not sure why she found his comment so funny.

“You’re serious,” she choked out. “Girls don’t play dominoes, only men?”

“Jes’ da men,” he said.

Then he laughed.

“It aganst da law,” he joked.

“Oh, here we go, Devin’s law again. I guess what you really mean is you don’t want the girls to play. Like I said, afraid they might beat you. Hurt your man pride.”

 

 

 

Author Bio

Lisa Loomis writes because she loves to. Her stories are about the human condition: love, life, and everything in between (including sex, drugs, alcohol, and things just crazy enough to be true). Her stories are not predictable, conventional, or lacking in the messiness of life. She tries to extract the real emotion in any given situation in her characters, with a touch of humor.lisa loomis

Lisa Loomis was born in Oakland California and raised in San Jose until she was a sophomore in high school. Her father then took a job in the San Diego area where he moved the family to Escondido, California (or hickville as she called it). She finished high school at San Pasqual High then went to junior college at Palomar JC, ultimately graduating from San Diego State University with a BS in Finance.

Finding more BS than finance with the financial meltdown in 2008 she went back to her passion of writing. Her currently published novels can be seen on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

She now lives and writes in Park City, Utah.

Visit her at www.LisaLoomisBooks.com or on Facebook Lisa Loomis Books and Twitter @lisaoharaloomis

 

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