Viette by J.A. Canter [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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Viette

by J.A. Canter

 

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Blurb

Stripped of her nobility and taken as a war prize, Viette is determined to take control of her life at all costs, even if it means dominating a King to do so.

At every turn her world is filled with passionate intrigues, silver-tongue lies, and blinding deceit. ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ rings true, especially if the hand is that of Viette.

 

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EXCERPT

 

He stood abruptly, leaving Viette sprawling to save herself a fall, and stalked to the window. “I offered them a plan to forge the largest pillary north of The End Sea. A majority of the profits—”

 

He ground his teeth together, his chest heaved with angry breath. “And Aust insults me by fixing his eyes on you.”

 

She sat back on her heels, unsure of how to take his words. “It was mere commonplace flattery. Nothing more.”

 

“He wants you.”

 

“Competition then?”

 

The thought made her laugh, which only made his mouth twist in revulsion.

 

This feral jealousy of his excited her. Would he fight over her like a rabid hound? His furious expression fell and vulnerability came through. Hands behind his back, he walked this way and that until he was by the bed again. One hand found its way to her side. He held it there, barely touching, for a moment.

 

“One thing I won’t stand for is for him set his teeth into you to spite me.”

 

 

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Bio

Judy is a Romance and Erotica author who began penning stories a number of years ago. With an eye for trouble and a thirst for kinky intrigues her stories are often a grab bag of wicked delights.AuthorPic_Viette

 

 

 

 

 

Links

 

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Giveaway

J.A. Canter will be awarding a finely crafted burgundy pearl and niobium bracelet made by Canter herself to a randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter! (open internationally)*

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The Academy: Thief by C.L. Stone [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

 

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will run a $25 Amazon/BN gift card via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Kayli Winchester is a dirt-poor girl living out of a hotel, forced to be the parent for a drunken father and teenage brother who she’s desperate to keep in school. The only way she scrapes by is to utilize her one skill: pickpocketing. But even though she’s a thief she has a moral code: no kids or old ladies, only targets who can defend themselves. Not that they see her coming…

Thinking she’s been working under the radar, Kayli has no idea The Academy has been watching and taking notice. Now a team that needs her skill has offered her a way out of her predicament and it’s her last chance: work with them, or face jail time. Kayli resists at first, but slowly the boys reveal they can be trusted. With Marc, the straight man, Raven, the bad-boy Russian, Corey and Brandon the twins as different as night and day, and Axel their stoic leader, there’s a lot Kayli can learn from these Academy guys about living on the edge of the law. If only she can stay on the good side instead of the bad.

Especially when the job they offer her is more than any of them bargained for. After it’s done, the hunters have become the hunted and their target is now after Kayli. The Academy boys do their best to keep her hidden, but a thief like Kayli will never sit still for long.

Meet an all-new Academy team in Thief, the beginning of the Scarab Beetle series.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I don’t know what you want me to do,” I said, but my voice was nearly gone, thick with the fear that he was way too close and seemed to think he knew what I wanted. I didn’t want him to know he was right. I don’t know why. My pride was too strong. I’d been this way for so long, I didn’t know how to give in. I didn’t know how to trust.

He opened his mouth, like he wanted to say something else but stopped, and his eyes drifted down to my mouth and held. My breath caught in my throat.

Before I could think to even push him off, his mouth claimed me. He kissed me hard enough that my head pressed back into the wall. His hands slid back to cup around my jaw to keep me from pulling away. His lips pressed down, mouth parted.

I kissed him back. I don’t know what came over me, but I wanted to feel those promises. I wanted to believe, for the moment, that maybe I could just let go, like he said, and trust that I could be accepted for who I was. Was I just like him? Could I be like that? Could I find a place just for me among these guys and waltz in and be with them? I opened my mouth, inviting him in, just a little.

Like opening the gates, his mouth claimed me again. In every possible place I could think to hide, he found me. My mind blanked out. I didn’t have room for anything else other than him and his kiss that told me everything would be all right. His kiss sank into me over and over again. Lips pressed against mine, tugging at my skin, at heart strings, at my core.

When he finally released my mouth so I could breathe, his lips trailed over my face, across my eyes and my brows.

“Why did it have to be you?” He breathed out as he whispered against my face. “I was hunting a thief, and I found a beautiful wreck.”

About the Author: C. L. Stone once lived in Charleston, SC, and currently lives among Cajuns. She writes about cute boys and uncomfortable situations, usually mixed together. You can email her at clstone@arcatopublishing.com. Sign up for email updates, get exclusive info on upcoming release dates, get notified when freebies are offered, and sometimes sneak peeks!

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Google, or All Romance eBooks.

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Royalties by Andy Marx [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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Royalties

by Andy Marx

 

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BLURB

 

America has never seen anything to match the innovation, energy, romance, and excitement of the 20th Century. And the embodiment of all this is Eve Solomon, a young woman who embraces the vitality of the times with a fervor. Determined to make a name for herself in the fledgling music business of 1908, she ultimately becomes wildly successful. But the same steely determination that takes her to the heights of the entertainment world cannot bring her the one thing she wants more than anything: the love of her life, Alex Getz, a struggling Vaudeville comic who becomes one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. As their careers and lives intersect across the years, there is a price to pay—a royalty for true love that can never be measured.

 

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EXCERPT

 

The ring was dazzling.

 

Square cut, about two carats, Eve guessed, as she looked down at the diamond. Set in ornate Victorian silver and resting perfectly on a black velvet cushion, she could picture it on her finger…even imagine the looks of envy on her friends’ faces as she waved it in front of them. There was no doubt she loved the ring, but not the man who had given it to her.

 

When Ben had called her earlier in the day and announced he had a surprise, Eve never suspected he planned to propose. Smiling at him, while a myriad of conflicting thoughts ran through her mind, she could only conjure one clear idea. What am I going to tell him?

 

“Say something,” Ben said, breaking her reverie. “I’ve never known you to be at a loss for words before.”

 

“It’s beautiful.”

 

“Try it on. I want to see if it fits.”

 

Slipping the ring on her finger, Eve thought about how many times she had imagined this moment. But up until two months ago, before she finally decided to stop waiting for Alex, she had always imagined him, not Ben, doing the proposing.

 

“I guess I’m a little surprised,” Eve said.

 

“I’m doing pretty well,” he said. “I moved Ma and my sisters into a bigger apartment. I’ve got a nice place. I figured it was time to start thinking about a family. And I couldn’t think of anybody I’d rather start a family with than you.”

 

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Andy Marx is an award-winning writer and photographer, whose work has appeared in Variety, The Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly, among others. He is also the co-founder of the comedy website, Hollywood & Swine, known for its lampooning MEDIA KIT Andy_Marx_portraitof the entertainment industry. His paternal grandfather was the legendary comedian, Groucho Marx, and his maternal grandfather, the renowned songwriter, Gus Kahn. Marx lives in Beverly Hills with his wife and three children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Twitter: @andymarx

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

 

Enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card

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A Guitar with Too Many Strings [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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A Guitar With Too Many Strings

by John Mellor

 

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 Blurb

“Madness dances with brilliance” – a wild rock singer, a lonely white dolphin and other unworldly misfits emerge from their strange stories to challenge a young boy as to why. A gaunt tree leans wearily over them, like a guitar with too many strings. And the Angel leans on her gate, watching. – “Never seen anything quite like this”; “A unique & wonderful manuscript”.

 

– see goodreads.com/book/show/21855007-a-guitar-with-too-many-strings for 57 reviews and ratings

 

“This is not a normal book with a normal story…”

 

It is the story of a rock singer and the unearthly harmonies plucked from a strange 13-string guitar; and of a bumptious honeybee encountering a strange little man on a planet that isn’t there; and a tired, cynical old philosopher conducting a strange debate with a stone in the woods.

 

It is the story of a shipwrecked sailor, whose pet egg hatches into a strange seagull; and a worn-out, unworldly old lady dying in a strange land where no-one dreams; and a sad, downtrodden gardener tending a Wise Woman’s strange, disquieting weed.

 

It is the story of a lonely white dolphin, and a tree – curiously shaped like a guitar with too many strings.

 

And of a young boy who discovers – with a little help from an Angel – The Seven Gifts – that came to Earth

 

“A most unusual and beautiful story”

 

“This is a book to make you think”

 

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The Face Transplant by R. Arundel [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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The Face Transplant

by R. Arundel

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Thriller 

Dr. Matthew MacAulay is a Facial Transplant Surgeon at a prestigious New York hospital. His friend and mentor, Tom Grabowski, dies under mysterious circumstances. Matthew is forced to investigate. He uncovers his friend’s secret. A new technique that allows perfect facial transplants. No incisions, no scars. The surgeon is able to transplant one person’s face to another with the perfect result. Tom was able to accomplish this monumental feat with the help of Alice, a supercomputer robot with almost human abilities. While trying to find the people responsible for murdering his friend Tom, Matthew realizes he is the prime suspect. Matthew must flee for his life with the help of Dr. Sarah Larsson, a colleague and reluctant helper who has a secret of her own. Alice helps them make sense of a baffling series of seemingly unrelated events. Matthew is forced to undergo a facial transplant to hide his identity and help to uncover the truth. The clues carry Matthew and Sarah around the world. Matthew stumbles onto a sinister plot of monumental proportions, the real reason Tom was murdered. This discovery leads Matthew all the way to The White House with a dramatic conclusion. Matthew never wavers in his quest for the truth and perseveres against all the odds. He must race to stop a major catastrophe, ratcheting up the excitement until the thrilling conclusion. The Face Transplant is a powerful medical suspense thriller of the first order. The novel was written by a surgeon. The novel has a realism that only a surgeon can bring. The plot weaves politics, medicine and espionage into a tightly paced, intelligent thriller. The novel crescendos page by page to a totally unexpected conclusion.

 

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Excerpt

 

Guaarrr. It sounded like water draining from a very large bath tub, through a very large hole. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a   warm relaxing bath? Sit. Soak. However, in the fraction of a second that it took that thought to go through Matthew’s head, a more powerful thought pierced his mind. I just killed myself. I just killed the patient. Most likely a criminal anyways. He looked down on the operating room table at the very gaunt, greying man. Dr. Matthew MacAulay quickly scanned the operating theater. In his peripheral vision he could clearly see the short, wide man in the observation area. I just killed myself, Lars, and Marcia. Matthew looked across the operating room table at Marcia Lopez, forty two, an American of Spanish ancestry. She had been his scrub nurse, assisting him in the operating room for the last 3 years. Divorced, one child.

It would take a few more seconds for the monitors to tell everybody what Matthew already knew. Soon the monitors would alarm and all would know. But Marcia already knew. She was right across the table. She saw him use the robotic arm to dissect the vessel and mistakenly cut the large artery in the neck. An operating room nurse of Marcia’s experience has seen it all. When Matthew looked into Marcia’s eyes they flashed ever so quickly an acknowledgement that it was all over. Instead of any words she quietly unclamped the suction. Now a dull hiss filled the air. To the casual observer, or the short wide man holding a 9 mm Glock pistol in his fat stubby hands, nothing really had changed.

 

 

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Author Bio

Robert was born in London, United Kingdom. His early formative years were spent in Toronto Canada. Robert attended the University of Toronto Medical School. After obtaining his Doctor of Medicine degree he completed surgical training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Toronto and obtained certification from the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Robert Mounsey practices surgery in private practice in Toronto. R. Arundel studied Film Studies at Ryerson University, after this he began writing screenplays and novels. The Face Transplant is his debut novel. He  is married and lives in Toronto, Canada. When not writing or practicing surgery Robert can be found cycling.

 

Links

  • Twitter: @TheFaceTransplant

 

GIVEAWAY

 

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Guarding Poppy by Christine Wenrick [BookBlitz]

 

 

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Guarding Poppy

by Christine Wenrick

 

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Blurb

 

ONE NIGHT . . . ONE VIOLENT, SUPERNATURAL BATTLE . . .

AND FIVE STORIES OF THE MEN WHOSE LIVES WILL BE CHANGED BY IT.

Alec Lambert was born to lead. He’s a ruling Elder of The Brethren, possessing steely confidence, natural smarts, and decisive problem solving abilities . . . and he’s not too bad on the eyes, either. Everything in his life has gone exactly according to plan—until the night of Brahm Hill. Alec loses his best friend at the hands of the uncle he trusted like a father, along with his previously unshakable faith to lead those with whom he’s charged. Despite this, he continues to press ahead, and for his next assignment he’s asked to protect a very beautiful but very clumsy Dhampir who’s being hunted by a powerful warlock. Suddenly, he finds his whole Brethren world is turned upside down . . . and he finds himself harboring a desire for her he can’t explain.

Poppy Honeywell knows she’s far from perfect. Bad things tend to happen when she’s around. She’s more than a little clumsy, with a phobia or two mixed in. Not to mention that her name is certainly unusual. But she doesn’t have time to worry about all that because she’s on the run and not about to back down from the arrogant Elder who’s just been assigned as her protector, claiming he has all the answers to her problems. The real problem, though, is . . . she’s irresistibly drawn to this man who faces constant danger and takes charge so naturally. But Poppy also sees that taking charge of others helps Alec mask his own very deep pain.

WILL ALEC FIND HIS WAY OUT OF THE DARKNESS AND SURRENDER TO HIS FEELINGS FOR POPPY BEFORE THE WARLOCK CHASING HER CATCHES UP TO THEM BOTH?

 

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Excerpt

 

“Why. Am. I. On. A. Plane?” Poppy emphasized each word as her hands gripped at the luxurious sofa arm beside her. But the modern jet seemed determined to bounce all of them out of their seats as the cabin continued to jostle about angrily. They were definitely in the middle of some mean turbulence, which was to be expected of anyone fool enough to be flying in a small plane in winter conditions.

“Because it’s the most efficient way to get someone across an ocean,” Alec answered. “We still have about an hour or so before we land. So you’re going to have to let me know if you’re going to panic on me.”

Her gaze narrowed on him angrily as she pushed her next breath through her nostrils. “Can I just hit you instead and we’ll call it even?!”

His brow lifted as if he found that comment interesting.

Poppy leapt to her feet inside the small cabin and she noticed Alec braced his hands against his chair arm as if to steady himself. Surely he didn’t think she was really going to hit him? “You’re not going to trip again, are you?” he asked her.

Poppy glared at him and then down at herself. She was looking for any reasonable explanation to defend the innate clumsiness he’d gotten to experience firsthand within the first minute of meeting her in Joseph’s study. “These are very challenging heels!”

Yep. That was the best she could come up with.

The Elder smiled. No, it was definitely more of a smirk. “I’m sure they are,” he replied. “Now, will you please sit down before you get bounced off your feet? The turbulence may get worse before it gets better.”

Worse?” Poppy squeaked. She might very well end up back in his lap if this turbulence got any worse. She didn’t like to think of herself as a coward, but when it came to flying she definitely was, even more so than her irrational fear of spiders. They just had too many legs. “Look—you need to understand. I don’t fly! Ever . . .! You need to find a way to land this plane, right now!”

“I can’t do that. As I explained, we’re over a lake.”

“Well get un-over the lake!”

The Elder didn’t say anything in response, just seemed to contemplate that. He removed the reading glasses that were a dead giveaway that he was human, though, he looked fit enough to give even one of his Dhampir guards a run for their money. He’d certainly felt fit enough when she had crash-landed into his chest in Joseph’s study . . . which had been utterly embarrassing. One moment, she’d been fully prepared to burst in and make her case to Joseph about why she needed to stay at The Hallow, and the next, the tip of her shoe had caught on the carpet and she was flying forward straight into a complete stranger.

“In an effort to have us all on the ground safely as soon as possible, I do not recommend suddenly veering off course to get ‘un-over’ a lake. We will be starting our descent shortly.”

“Oh God, descent . . .,” she mumbled to herself as she rubbed her hands over her face. “This is not good. This is not good.”

“It will be all—”

“Where are we landing . . . Elder Lambert?” she added awkwardly, realizing they had not actually exchanged first names.

He returned his glasses to the bridge of his nose and went back to looking at his tablet. “You may call me Alec. I much prefer it to Elder Lambert. We’ll be landing in Alberta at The Oracle, The Brethren site I’m in charge of. After discussing it, Joseph and I felt this would be the best place for you to stay.”

“Well, isn’t that nice,” she answered him flippantly. “You discussed it. By any chance—in any of this heavy dialogue—did anyone consider asking me if I wanted to go to Canada?”

Alec just sighed in that ‘you’re going to cause me a lot of trouble, aren’t you’ sort of way.

 

 

Author Bio

Christine is a graduate of Washington State University where she received a BA in Interior Design. And true to form of using mostly her ‘right brain’, she splits her time between her commercial design career and her imaginary world of writing. She lives in the scenic Pacific Northwest where she enjoys hiking, camping and photographing many of the wonderful places that served asMEDIA KIT Author Photo inspiration for her writing. Her biggest reward in life is any given day when one of her books connects with a reader because she herself is such a lover of reading. Some of her favorite authors include Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Kimberly Derting.

 

 

 

 

 

Links

 

 
Giveaway!

One randomly chosen Grand Prize winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and a runner up will receive autographed copies of Someone Else’s Skye and Guarding Poppy (US only).
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Stone: At Your Service by Rie Warren [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

Welcome to the cover reveal for STONE: AT YOUR SERVICE an erotic romance by Rie Warren, coming September 25th to a book retailer near you! This post is part of a tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.

Rie will award a Carolina Bad Boys swag pack including an ARC of Stone to a randomly drawn winner during the tour via the rafflecopter at the end of this post (International winner).

Check out this gorgeous cover and find out more about the upcoming release:

And here’s what the story is about!

One bad boy mechanic, one sexy romance writer, and an impossible situation. Hell on wheels? More like hell in high heels.

Bad boy mechanic Josh Stone likes to get his hands dirty any way he can—the filthier, the better. Ever since his wife walked out on him and their young son, he’s only had room in his heart for two loves: the kid and cars.

Roped into playing his best buddy’s gay boyfriend during a romance writers convention, the player meets the girl who’s gonna rock his world. Leelee Songchild. Shy, bashful, beautiful Leelee who blushes at the drop of a hat yet writes hardcore smut to rival Josh’s backlist of Penthouse Forum.

The only problem is his hands are tied. Josh can’t stab his old friend/fake lover in the back even though all he wants to do is take luscious Leelee to bed, and maybe, love her. When the truth comes out, all hell breaks loose. Too bad romance is just for books.

WARNING: Uncompromisingly hot sex, hilarious hijinks, and heartfelt romance—STONE is a triple threat.

How about a sneak peek to whet your appetite?

As soon as the venue grew crowded and the noise became a deafening roar, the already dim lights lowered even more and three spots hit center stage. Strutting from the darkness beyond, a man with slicked back black hair and painted on leathers—I dare-fuckin’-say they were tighter than the pair I’d trashed last night—threw his arms wide.

Women erupted from their seats, leaped onto tables, started throwing panties, money, wads of paper with phone numbers. Janice pounded the table, a small smile flirted on Leelee’s lips, and Jacqueline blew a man-hungry whistle through her teeth.

Nicky smirked at me.

“Welcome to ’Lanta, y’all! When we heard there was a group of beautiful,” he thrust his hips once, “talented,” twice, “freaky group of sexy romance writers in town?” The MC gave Jules Gem a run for her money, rolling his pelvis obscenely while he licked his lips and the ladies threatened to stampede the stage. His voice dropped, “Well, we just had to put on a special show for y’all!” Stepping back, he raised his arms again, shouting, “Welcome to the all-male revue, Magic Mike Night . . . erm . . . make that Noon!”

From every corner of the room, men appeared. Lots of men. Almost naked men. No worse than what I’d gotten up to last night, but then Leelee had been focused solely on me. Now she wasn’t. Her mouth dropped open, her cheeks flushed in that pretty shade of pink the way it did when she was on the brink of orgasm. Threading through the audience of bloodthirsty demons, aka dick lovin’ babes, the strippers eventually made it onstage in one piece, without their negligible outfits being torn off their bodies.

A few kisses were probably stolen and asses squeezed, I knew, because I’d been on the receiving end of that before.

I sat, glowering.

Rie is the badass, sassafras author of Sugar Daddy and the Don’t Tell series–a breakthrough trilogy that crosses traditional publishing boundaries beginning with In His Command.
A Yankee transplant who has traveled the world, Rie started out a writer—causing her college professor to blush over her erotic poetry without one ounce of shame. Not much has changed. She swapped pen for paintbrushes and followed her other love during her twenties. From art school to marriage to children and many a wild and wonderful journey in between, Rie has come home to her calling. Her work has been called edgy, daring, and some of the sexiest smut around.

You can connect with Rie via the social media hangouts listed on her website https://www.riewarren.com. She is represented by Saritza Hernandez, Corvisiero Literary Agency. http://www.corvisieroagency.com/Saritza_Hernandez.html

https://www.facebook.com/RieWarrenRomance
https://twitter.com/RieWrites
http://www.riewarrenerotica.tumblr.com
http://www.pinterest.com/riewarrenwrites
https://www.goodreads.com/Rie_Warren

STONE LINKS
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22336924-stone-at-your-service
http://www.riewarren.com/series/carolina-bad-boys/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MRPKWAY
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Open World C.O.V.E.N. by Casey Moss [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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Cover_Open World – C.O.V.E.N

Urban Fantasy

 

Open World C.O.V.E.N.

by Casey Moss

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Blurb

 

The world has broken out in wars. Las Vegas has been ravaged by chemical warfare and is now home to several clans and creatures.

Welcome to I-D-8 Entertainment’s newest game: Clans of Vegas—Endless Night.

Friends and family have gathered for a crunch time playtest of C.O.V.E.N.. When a horrible thunderstorm hits, everyone’s sucked into the game for real. In the MMORPG, Hope Collins is kidnapped by Buzz and forced to submit to his whims. Her boyfriend, Alden, has to delay his quest of defeating a clan’s prince to save her, but time and circumstance don’t seem to be on his side. Faith Collins is bombarded by strange dreams brought on by Buzz. Her boyfriend, Tavis, learns to dream walk, but can he help break the spell she’s under and save her before she’s lost to him?

 C.O.V.E.N. is more than just a game. It’s a whole other world.

 

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Excerpt

 

Perhaps he’d been under too much stress, had too much caffeine, didn’t have enough sleep or information about the guy. More likely a combination of it all. A hodgepodge of shit and no shovel. He didn’t know how much more of all this he could take.

Shaking off the negativity, Alden rotated his head, listening to his spine crackle and pop. Tension released. The quick adjustment perked him up. He plated the burgers, closed the lid to the grill and exhaled a deep breath. First food, then work, and amongst it all, see if I can figure out Mr. Jenkins’s deal. Making his way toward the small group, the tray of hot meat balanced on one hand, he focused in on Cor, noting his body language and how the people around him responded.

Why did I imagine him as the antagonist? The one in the game I need to destroy?

The storyline he had to double check during the playtest dealt with finding the main boss—the Prince of Clan Caesachapel—and defeating him before the cad could cause harm. He’d intended to assist Hope and her family in creating ‘good’ characters, placing them in the clan he belonged to, and have them run the quests, as well. But with the way he’d been feeling, he almost reconsidered that idea.

Thing was he had a job to do. One he aimed to make good on and see through to the end. He’d never been the kind of guy to shirk a duty, and he wasn’t about to start now.

Mr. James Collins, a middle-aged man with graying, strawberry blond hair and ice blue eyes, glanced Den’s way as he approached. James acknowledged him with slight nod, then returned his attention to Cor.

The fact James was only a programmer and not his direct boss—or above him in any authoritative capacity in the organization—pleased Den. The man sure ran hot one moment and cold the next when it came to him. Hope had explained that was one of her father’s personality quirks and not to take it personal.

Some future father-in-law he would turn out to be.

Plastering a smile on his face, he placed the dish of meat on the aluminum table. James and the ladies’ attentions stayed fixed on the gentleman in their midst. Good. No one paid him any mind. More time to assess the situation.

Cor’s intense brown-eyed gaze bored into Hope’s, infiltrating her defenses and working whatever magic the man seemed to possess. Their connection resembled flirting but in a stronger sense. His chest tightened and burned. Mine, his inner voice asserted in a low, rolling growl, reminding him of his in game character’s speech. Alden stepped back before he could choose to put his fist in Cor’s face. His foot crunched on a chip bag that had fallen to the ground.

Hope didn’t flinch, didn’t look away.

Mesmerized. Shit. And not just her. Enthralled by the bean counter, the whole family overlooked him like he didn’t exist.

What the hell is going on?

 

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AuthorPic_Open World – C.O.V.E.NAuthor Bio

Casey Moss delves into the darker aspects of life in her writing, sometimes basing the stories on reality, sometimes on myth. No matter the path, her stories will take you on a journey from the light-hearted paranormal to dark things unspeakable. What waits around the corner? Come explore…

 

 

Links

 

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Notice Me by B. L. Blair [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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Cover_Notice Me

 Notice Me

by B.L. Blaire

 

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Blurb

Andrew Moore has always thought of Victoria as family. She is his best friend’s little sister and his little sister’s best friend, but recently something has changed. Andrew is thinking about Victoria in a completely different way. She will never fit into his quiet, conservative world. They are too different to have a future together, but he can’t help noticing her.

Victoria Carson has been in love with Andrew since her sixteenth birthday, but Andrew never noticed her as anything other than his best friend’s little sister. She fled from her hometown so that she wouldn’t have to watch Andrew build a life with someone else. But things have changed. Andrew is now a widower, and Victoria has returned home. It is time to make him notice her.

Return to Holton, Texas to see if Victoria can get Andrew to notice her. Notice Me is the second book in the Holton Series but may be read as a standalone novel.

 

 

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

 

 

Excerpt

 

As always, her heart stopped when she saw him. Victoria knew she had seen better looking men, had even dated better looking men, but Andrew always moved her. For a moment, she enjoyed the simple pleasure of just looking at him. His broad shoulders filled out the conservative blue suit and his powerful arms and legs made him a lean, dominant picture. His thick brown hair had fallen across his forehead, and Victoria’s hand itched to brush it back. He was talking softly to his sister explaining the papers in his hand. Victoria watched his mouth move and waited for the smile that always made her toes curl. It happened and Victoria took a deep breath. She thought she should be used to that reaction by now, but it still caught her by surprise. Andrew’s smile brought butterflies to her stomach and made her ache for his love. She quickly pulled herself together and closed the door behind her.

Andrew looked up at the sound, and Victoria found herself looking into his piercing green eyes. They had narrowed and trained on her immediately. The intense green gaze locked her into place. She stood very still while his eyes roamed over her. Victoria knew the past few months had accomplished this. Andrew was now very physically aware of her. What he thought about her, Victoria did not know. She did know he invariably watched every movement that she made.

 

 

 

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

 

Author Bio

B. L. Blair writes simple and sweet romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.

Author Pic_Notice Me

She is the author of the Holton romance series. She loves reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her sisters and her cat, Darcy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Pants Cafe by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Three randomly drawn commenters will each received a prize pack of eight autographed paperbacks. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Do YOU Believe in the Pants?

Each summer, thousands secretly flock to a tiny yet charming hole-in-the-wall known as The Happy Pants Café. And what are they searching for? It’s not coffee. And it’s not pants. It’s true love, and they find it!

So what’s with the quirky name and what, exactly, is the café’s big secret? Harper Branton, a columnist for the San Francisco Tribune, who’d sooner believe in unicorns than in true love, is about to find out. And it’s the perfect story to save her train wreck of a career.

Too bad she’s got competition. He’s sexy, he’s arrogant, and he thinks she’s crazy. What kind of person doesn’t believe in love? And this coming from a dude!

When these two rivals go head to head, it’s more like a WWF smackdown. A shared history binds them in wonderful, terrible ways quickly making their duel about more than just a news story. Will they tear each other apart for the win or end up as two new satisfied Happy Pants customers?

For an excerpt, as well as a look at the characters and places from the story, visit the author’s website.

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author, Host of The Man Candy Show

When San Francisco native, Mimi Jean, went on an adventure as an exchange student to Mexico City, she never imagined the journey would lead to writing Romance. But one Mexican MBA, one sexy Mexican husband, and two rowdy kids later, Mimi would trade in corporate life for vampires, deities, and snarky humor. She continues to hope that her books will inspire a leather pants comeback (for men) and that she might make you laugh when you need it most. She also enjoys interacting with her fans (especially if they’re batshit crazy). You can always find her chatting away on Facebook, Twitter, or saying many naughty words on her show MAN CANDY on Radioslot.com.

www.MimiJean.net
http://radioslot.com/
https://twitter.com/MimiJeanRomance
https://www.facebook.com/MimiJeanPamfiloff


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Ophelia’s Lessons: The Naughty Shakespeare Series Book 1 by Esmae Browder [BookBlitz + GIveaway]

 

 

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Ophelia’s Lessons:The Naughty Shakespeare Series Book 1

by Esmae Browder

 

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Blurb

 

Sweet, innocent Ophelia–she wants nothing more than to marry Hamlet Elsinore. But what does a simple virgin know about pleasing a man like the sophisticated and charming Hamlet? Not a whole lot, but when her seductive roommate, Portia, learns of Ophelia’s interest, she gets Horatio to “teach” the innocent girl everything she’ll need to know to seduce his best friend, Hamlet.

Set in modern day, this prequel to Hamlet is steamy enough to have even the Bard blushing! Enjoy this first book of Literotica in the Naughty Shakespeare series.

 

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

 

Excerpt 

“There’s a difference between flirting and sex.”

“Are you sure?” Horatio moved to her, his gaze intense, as he tucked a stray ringlet of her dark hair behind her ear. “Why don’t we find out?”

“But–“

“Portia, you can go now.” He cut off her protests, but never took his eyes off Ophelia. “Come back in a few hours.”

“Have fun!” Portia winked at Ophelia. “You look fabulous.”

The click of the door behind her best friend caused Ophelia jump.

Could she do this? Should she do this? It was one thing to want to learn the art of sex to please the man you loved–even if he didn’t really see her like that yet–but another altogether to be seduced by his best friend.

And could she even claim seduction? After all, she was a willing party. She’d gone along with Portia’s plan without much thought.

Anything that would make her better for Hamlet.

“I didn’t know it would be you.” Ophelia swallowed hard. “I assumed it would one of Portia’s ex-lovers.”

“And who’s to say I’m not one of those?” Horatio laughed lightly. “Would you like a drink?”

He gestured to the champagne Portia had prepared for them, and without waiting for her answer, went to it. He popped the cork with expertise, filled their glasses and handed one to her.

“To you, Ophelia,” he said, raising his glass. “To the woman you are about to unleash.”

She drank deeply, letting the bubbles tickle her throat, letting the warmth of it relax her.

“Come here.” Horatio took her hand and led her to the mirror. “I want to show you something.”

He twirled her so she could see herself in the wide mirror on the wall above the couch.

“You are gorgeous.” Horatio stood behind her, barely pressing against her back. He sipped from his champagne glass. “Have you ever really looked at yourself?”

“No,” she whispered and to avoid doing so any longer, Ophelia drained the rest of her glass of champagne. “It’s not right to think about yourself like that. Very vain.”

“Who told you that?”

“My father, maybe my brother.”

“They were fools, afraid of the power you represent as a woman.”

“What do you mean?”

“You have everything a man wants.” His voice rumbled as he wrapped an arm around her and placed his hand over her heart. “We want this.”

She could feel him pressed harder against her, could feel his breath tickle her neck.

“And we want this.” He moved his hand to rest on her crotch. “Your heart and your desire. That’s what we want. Fathers and brothers don’t like seeing it in their sisters and daughters. It reminds them of the sexual animal inside all men.”

He dropped his hand, but didn’t move away from her. For a long moment, their eyes met in the mirror. Then Horatio stepped back just far enough to put down his glass of champagne.

He placed both hands on her shoulders.

“Let’s begin.”

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

Author Bio

Esmae Browder is an ex-Catholic school girl from New Orleans who loves vodka tonics and romance. Combining her love of literature with a flair for erotic fiction, she has created a unique series which includes prequels and retellings of some of the Bard’s most famous works. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew–nothing is sacred in Esmae’s Literotica world. You may know your Shakespeare, but you haven’t heard the whole erotic story! An avid blogger at All Things Writing, you can learn more about Esmae there or stop by her website: www.esmaebrowder.com.

Links

 

 

  • Twitter @esmaebrowder

 

 

 

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Four Leaf Clover by Charmaine Ross [Bookblitz + Giveaway]

 

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Charmaine will be awarding a copy of the book to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A sexy, sugar-laden David vs Goliath story about a local bakery, a national chain, and what really matters.

Clover Loveday has worked hard to get her café Four-Leaf Clover up and running, her ticket out of an increasingly alarming financial situation and her dream come true. When she literally falls off her ladder into the arms of national bakery chain Upper Crust owner, sexy-as-sin Liam Sinclair, who owns the new bakery being built just across the road, she decides that no matter how nauseated she is about the idea, it is best keep your enemy close, rather than leave things to fate.

Liam has never put too much thought into the competition when he opens a new outlet, other than taking their customers and strengthening the Upper Crust brand. But here in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges, Clover Loveday’s cafe is a little too close for comfort, and Clover Loveday a little too good-looking. So Liam asks his PA to put together a Fact Sheet about his new competition. He has a business to run, a father to please, and hundreds of people to keep in jobs. Surely information can keep an unwanted strong sexual pull at bay…

A sexy, caffeinated, satisfying story about unexpected temptations, forgiveness, and putting love before money.

 

Excerpt

 

I thought this might happen.’ The voice was bemused, and also very male. So deep and warm it clung to her bones.
Which was absolutely ridiculous. She blinked away the spots and looked into a pair of striking eyes. What she thought was just light brown was now more sienna, with streaks of cinnamon spearing the inky iris. The eyes were keenly intelligent, and she felt as though she were under an intense spotlight. Maybe it was the way they didn’t flicker from her face, or that they held a sprinkling of disapproval, but his gaze also irritated her.

‘What sort of a man frightens a woman who’s up a ladder?’ She couldn’t help the words that tumbled out.

The eyes widened, his brows arching high. ‘Why was this woman up a ladder?’

‘A woman who needs to gets things done!’ She sounded more snappish than she wanted, but the amused way in which he watched her fuelled her aggravation.

His lips turned up slightly at the edges. ‘And how does this woman plan to get things done when she’s sprawled across the floor?’

‘I wasn’t about to sprawl across the floor, as you put it, until you barged through the door and yelled at me.’ She narrowed her eyes, trying to be her most severe, which she probably wasn’t doing a very good job of. Her friend, and now waitress, Holly said she was about as frightening as a wombat, even when she’d fully lost it. Which rarely happened. And it was this infuriating man’s fault she’d now lost her usual good humour.

‘I didn’t barge through the door, and I certainly didn’t yell at you. I was just trying to get you to be careful.’

‘What? By startling me so much I fell off the ladder?’

‘You shouldn’t have been up there, especially in boots like those.’ He indicated her boots with a tip of his head. She noticed how ruffled his hair was. Spiking in all directions, as though he’d just run his hands through it.

‘There’s nothing wrong with my boots.’ She’d got them at the Beggar’s Bazaar at the end of Main Street on a sale. Black leather cowboy boots, floral patterns imprinted into the leather and practical flat heels. She loved these boots the moment she’d seen them and after she’d finally plucked up the courage, and the savings, to buy them, she’d worn them just about every day since.

His eyes flowed from her ankles to her thighs. His gaze was as intimate as a touch and as though hypnotised, she watched his eyes travel to hers.

‘No. There’s not.’

About the Author:

I live in Upwey, a very leafy suburb of outer Melbourne. I can hear most Melbournians say, ‘Where?’ Think Puffing Billy, the hills and inexcusably steep driveways and you’re there. We have a house with room for the kids to play in the backyard, the cat to sleep wherever and the husband to lounge on a bean-bag in front of the telly. I love romance because it adds so much to the story. Everyone needs a little love to take them away.

Facebook Learn more about Charmaine Ross at www.CharmaineRoss.com.

 

 

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Ten Brides for Ten Heroes [Book Bundle Promo Blitz]

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to TWO randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour. Please click the banner to see the other stops on this tour.

Ten Brides for Ten Heroes spans the gamut of the ever-popular wedding romance genre—from heartwarming laughter to thrilling adventure, from sweet to steamy. This 10-book bundle features novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. So get ready to toss the bouquet and say, “I do!” as ten brides risk it all to find their happy ever after.

About the stories:

Wedding Fever by Patrice Wilton 
– The romantic comedy series, Serendipity Falls.

Mila O’Reilley owns Wedding Fever, a bridal boutique in Serendipity Falls Mall. She sells more than dresses, she sells dreams along with the belief in happily-ever-after – a sentiment she personally doesn’t share. Can a jaded bridal consultant and a cynical news reporter uncover the true mystery of Serendipity Falls without being swept away in the madness?

Find Patrice at: http://www.patricewilton.com

The Army Doctor’s Wedding by Helen Scott Taylor 
– The Army Doctor’s Series



Major Cameron Knight throws himself into the danger of front-line, battlefield medicine to keep the demons from his past away. When he rescues an injured charity worker who’s saved a tiny newborn baby, he marries her so they can take the orphan back home for surgery. With this brave woman he finally has the chance to redeem himself and find love.

Find Helen at: http://www.helenscotttaylor.co.uk/

Wedding Surprise by Mona Risk 
– The Holiday Babies Series

Claire and David faced many challenges over the years. Finally, Claire’s dream of a wonderful white wedding to the man she loves is about to come true. Two weeks before the wedding, Adriana, the high-school classmate who’s tried to snatch David several times, makes an announcement that threatens to destroy the couple’s happiness. Is Claire and David’s love for each other strong enough to turn the worst wedding surprise into the best?

Find Mona at: http://www.monarisk.com

Tomboy Bride by Alicia Street 
– The Dance ‘n’ Luv Series



Kendra returns home for her brother’s wedding determined to get her age-old crush to finally see her as more than a tomboy. But will her game of making him jealous with a hot and handsome faux-beau make him fall for her—or backfire and leave her in ashes?

Find Alicia at: http://aliciastreet-roystreet.com

Destination Wedding, by Rebecca York 
– The Decorah Security Series

From the moment Nick Cassidy signed on as one one of Camille Norland’s bodyguards, sexual sparks flew between them. Although determined to keep his emotional distance from her, Nick is forced to admit his real feelings when she’s kidnapped by a ruthless Russian mobster with matrimony in mind. Can Nick rescue her before the wedding night? Can they escape from Victor Zanov’s tropical island death trap? And can they come to terms with their complicated relationship?

Find Rebecca at: http://www.rebeccayork.com

Summer of Love by Annie Jones

Brides, Beehives and Barbecue! Can mother daughter mayhem be far behind? Bless her heart, it’s 1967 and a determined southern bride isn’t sure love is really all she needs.

Find Annie at: http://theanniejones.com/

Return of the Runaway Bride by Donna Fasano

Savanna returns to her hometown to explain why she fled on her wedding day, but she never imagined how her escape all those years ago changed Daniel. Can she make him understand—and forgive?

Find Donna at: http://www.DonnaFasano.com

Single and Searching by Rita Herron

A woman looking for love… A reporter looking for a story… A mad rush to find a criminal… When the truth comes out and danger strikes, will they succumb to the passion burning between them?

Find Rita at: http://www.ritaherron.com

Here Comes the Bride by Theresa Ragan

Samantha Johnston, a reporter for the LA Beat, attends the wedding of one of America’s hottest actors in hopes of learning the identity of his mystery bride, and ends up saying, “I do.”

Find Theresa at: http://www.theresaragan.com

Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour 
– The “Elvis” Series

After her year in Texas as an exchange student, Annie leaves pregnant and heartbroken. Nine years later she returns to introduce her eight-year-old son to his American family. And to the man who still haunts her dreams – the handsome, embittered rancher who never knew he’d fathered a son.

Find Mimi at: http://www.mimibarbour.com

LINKS:

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The Mating Game by Melissa Snark [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Melissa will be awarding a Nordic Lights Dolphin Triskilian Pendant for Guidance and Inner Peace to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, as well as a signed paperback copy of The Mating Game to two randomly drawn winners (US ONLY) via the rafflecopter at the end of this post.

Melissa will be awarding a Nordic Lights Dolphin Triskilian Pendant for Guidance and Inner Peace to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, as well as a signed paperback copy of The Mating Game to two randomly drawn winners. (US ONLY)

 

Two males…two friends…a competition for the right to claim The Heart of the Iron Stone Pack.

An alpha female at her core, Theresa Sanchez struggles to protect her young daughter, but rivalries and politics create volatility in the pack. As Theresa comes into heat, lust and need rule her body. Her pack demands only the most virile male have her. How can she choose only one mate when her body craves two—the virile beta and the man she loves?

Zachary Hunter will do anything to take Theresa as his mate, even if it means killing his best friend. However, Robert Blane is just as determined to ascend to Alpha. Both their beasts howl to mark her flesh, but only one can survive to claim her.
But with enemies circling, they must fight…for the pack, for Theresa, and for a future together.

Warning: Book contains wolf shifters, pack politics, gritty fight scenes, offbeat humor, and sizzling sexual adventures between a ménage of partners.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Bright and early Saturday morning, Theresa Sanchez opened her front door to discover Zachary Hunter clad in a bright orange dress on her porch. The loose bodice fell low on his chest, displaying dark blond curls and showcasing his broad shoulders and powerful torso. The neon hemline stopped above the knees, revealing muscular calves, strong ankles, and shapely feet.

It was unusual attire for a dominant male werewolf.

She stepped closer and sniffed, seeking to satisfy the impulses of her she-wolf. The earthy scent of him flooded her nostrils—masculine and potent—inciting the heated ache of arousal between her thighs. She licked her lips, hoping that drool hadn’t dribbled down her chin. The man made her mouth water.

“My eyes are up here, love,” Zach quipped in a crisp British accent. His hand lifted and a long, elegant finger tapped her chin.

“Oh, right. Sorry.” She forced her roaming eyes upward, away from his buff chest, striving to remember that she and Zach didn’t play like that. The man was many things to her: best friend, confidant, and protector. He fixed leaky faucets and kept her ancient car running. But of all the roles he played, he remained “lover” only in her dreams.

Fast Facts About Melissa Snark:

• Melissa Snark is published with The Wild Rose Press & as an Indie author with five unique titles: A CAT’S TALE, THE MATING GAME, LEARNING TO FLY, THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON.

• Her Loki’s Wolves series includes THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON AND BATTLE CRY (to be released in 2014).

• She lives in the San Francisco bay area with her husband, three children and a glaring of cats.

• She is a professional cat herder and unrepentant satirist who blogs about books and writing on The Snarkology.

Connect with Melissa Snark:

Author Website

http://www.melissasnark.com/

The Snarkology

http://www.melissasnark.blogspot.com/

Email: melissasnark at gmail.com

Facebook Author Page

https://www.facebook.com/melissasnark.author

Twitter

https://twitter.com/MelissaSnark

Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/MelissaSnark

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0076EEQIU
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Shadows of Damascus by Lilas Taha [BookBlitz + Giveaway]

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Blurb

Bullet wounds, torture and oppression aren’t the only things that keep a man—or a woman—from being whole.

Debt. Honor. Pain. Solitude. These are things wounded war veteran Adam Wegener knows all about. Love—now, that he is not good at. Not when love equals a closed fist, burns, and suicide attempts. But Adam is one who keeps his word. He owes the man who saved his life in Iraq. And he doesn’t question the measure of the debt, even when it is in the form of an emotionally distant, beautiful woman.

Yasmeen agreed to become the wife of an American veteran so she could flee persecution in war-torn Syria. She counted on being in the United States for a short stay until she could return home. There was one thing she did not count on: wanting more.

Is it too late for Adam and Yasmeen?

Shadows of Damascus was released by Soul Mate Publishing on January, 2014.

  Excerpt

ADAM

Baghdad, Iraq

Summer 2006

M4 Carbine rifle ready, Sergeant Adam Wegener scanned the street, skimming from window to rooftop. Nerves on edge, his neck and shoulder muscles strained to keep him focused. His heart thumped against his ribs.

Patrol leader Lieutenant Clifton moved his troop with caution through the street, Adam’s fire team at the rear. They’d done street sweeps many times before, but this one was different. Something was not right. Apprehension took hold of his insides and squeezed tight with every step.

Adam turned and walked backwards a few steps, establishing eye contact with Corporal Scottsdale. He nodded at the big guy’s expressionless face, assurance at having Big Scott cover his back. He checked on the other two members of his team trailing his left, Corporals Andrews and Bradley, and faced forward again.

The neighborhood seemed unnaturally quiet. No children walked to school, no laundry hung outside windows on this breezeless day, not even alley cats explored the overflowing garbage containers.

From a corner of his eye, he caught a movement in one of the windows. Wood shutters slammed closed against the windowpane.

A loud boom burst the air. Adam hit the dirt, his head pounding the pavement. The world went silent. He spat blood mixed with something solid. Parts of his body armor and uniform had been ripped off, along with patches of skin. He rose to his knees, his hands searching for his rifle. Finding it, he clasped the rifle in his arms and crawled. He moved as if swimming in a viscous liquid, not knowing which direction to take. He saw only clouds of smoke.

He screamed the names of the soldiers in his team, not sure if his voice even worked. He couldn’t hear a damn thing. His elbow landed on something hard, a boot. He moved his fingers up the leather, across the twill fabric of the pants, until his hands sank in soft flesh and wetness. The man mumbled something, his voice muffled and distant.

“Big Scott, that you?” Adam shouted.

A shower of bullets rang by his side. Helmet gone, he ducked and covered his head. His ears popped from the pressure, jump-starting his hearing.

“Take cover.” Big Scott’s voice penetrated the sounds of warfare.

He scrambled to his feet, hoisted Big Scott on his shoulder, and dashed to the nearest house. He kicked the door and threw himself and Big Scott inside. Propping the injured soldier’s back to one wall, away from the windows, he snatched the M9 Beretta pistol from the holster mounted on his chest rig and forced it into Big Scott’s hands.

“Cover the door.”

Rifle raised and ready, he moved from room to room to secure the small house. He entered the kitchen, coming face-to-face with an old woman. Sitting motionless on a wooden chair, hands clasped on the Formica table in front of her, she stared down Adam’s raised barrel.

Keeping an eye on the wrinkled, tanned face, he scanned the kitchen. No place for anyone to hide, not even a closet door to check behind.

“Anyone else in the house?”

She held her stare, unflinching.

Adam tried to recall Arabic words he heard Fadi, the interpreter assigned to his patrol unit, say in situations like these. But he couldn’t recall a single one.

“Where’s your husband?”

The woman blinked. She craned her neck to one side, looking past him toward the front of the house. The white scarf covering her hair slipped down to her shoulders, revealing gray strands pulled back in a tight bun. She lifted the scarf and refastened it under her chin.

His hand shook. He aimed a loaded weapon at a woman the same age as his mother. Hell, she even resembled her.

“Rajul? Rajul?” Was that the right word for man? Why was she so calm?

The only point of entry was the door he came through. He heard heavy movement outside. The sounds of shouting men grew closer. The old mother could yell to alert the insurgents any second. He snatched a towel hanging on a hook to his left, and held his index finger to his lips, motioning for the woman to go with him to the front room.

She followed without uttering a sound.

Adam pointed his weapon for her to sit on the cement floor. He tore the towel into strips and kneeled in front of her.

Big Scott moaned. He slumped to one side, pistol aimed at the door.

“I got you, man. Have to secure the old mother first.” He used a towel strip for her hands and tied another around her mouth.

He turned to Big Scott, got his first aid kit out of a side pocket on his torn pants, and dug for supplies. He applied bandages to Big Scott’s bleeding midsection. Keeping pressure on the wound with one hand, he pulled the radio from his pack and reported to his platoon sergeant they were trapped inside one of the houses.

“Damn it, which one?” Lieutenant Clifton’s voice crackled.

“Don’t know. Scottsdale’s injured. It’s bad.”

“Andrews, Bradley?” The lieutenant screamed back.

“God damn IED was right under them. Can’t confirm.”

“Second platoon’s six blocks away. They’re en route and—”

A loud explosion silenced the radio. Cursing, he flung the radio across the room.

“Hang in there, big man. QRF’s on the way.” There was no way the Quick Reaction Force could come to their rescue if they didn’t know where they were.

“How long?” Big Scott’s voice came out calm, surprising him.

“Ten minutes.” He fumbled with more bandages. Could second platoon make six blocks in ten minutes? It was possible. “Stay with me. Think about that sweet girl you got back home. Sandy, right?”

He slumped beside Big Scott. Sticky stuff on his back squished. He closed his eyes, hoping to God the sensation resulted from an injury he hadn’t yet felt, rather than the blood and flesh of his missing team members splattered all over him. He needed to find a way to signal their location.

Big Scott clamped a charred hand on top of his. “Won’t make it.”

“The hell you won’t. Sandy’s waiting for you.” He pulled himself to his feet and approached the door. “You’d better not disappoint her.” If he opened the door and his patrol didn’t spot him, the insurgents would be alerted to their position, and that would be the fucking end. If he didn’t do anything, Big Scott would bleed out. He looked back at the corporal. His friend didn’t have much time. There was only one thing to do.

“We have to get out of here.”

He propped Big Scott on his shoulder and opened the door. Clouds of smoke blocked his view. Using the cover of smoke, he edged his way along the side of the house, unable to see a yard past his face. His foot stumbled over a chunk of cement, and he collapsed against the house, slumping down on the dirty street, overcome by how absurd this mission was.

A clomp of boots on the gritty pavement caught his attention. They were trapped. They could not fade into the concrete, not a car nor a bush to hide behind, and he didn’t have time to retrace his way back to the door. He aimed his rifle in the direction of the approaching boots and counted the steps. One man, probably a scout. Shots would draw others.

He slung the rifle across his chest and let it hang. Clamping a hand on Big Scott’s mouth, he stifled the soldier’s agonized moan. Adam stretched to full height, flattened his back against the wall, and pulled his knife.

Heavy fire erupted around them. Bullets shattered the wall to Adam’s left. He hit the dirt again. Big Scott’s limp body fell on top of him, pinning him down. Knife gone, he tried to push Big Scott off. Pain shot through his body like electricity. He doubled over and collapsed once more, trapping his rifle under him.

Leather boots slammed right next to his face. He wrapped his hand around the ankle and tried to topple the guy down.

“Don’t fight me, Adam. I’m here to helb you.”

“Fadi? That you Fadi?”

“Shut ub before zey hear us.”

Fadi took hold of Big Scott’s shoulders and pulled him into the house. He returned to Adam and dragged him until they were inside. He checked their injuries.

Multiple holes on Adam’s left side bled. Big Scott lay flat on his back, praying aloud.

“Clifton knows where you are now.” Fadi applied bandages to Adam’s leg.

He sucked in a sharp breath and tried to stay alert, his eyelids too heavy to keep open.

Fadi shook his uninjured shoulder. “Do what you always do to stay awake.”

Adam opened his eyes. “What?”

“Count, man. Count za bains. Double za number if zey were very bainful, half if zey were minor,” Fadi urged in his particular accent.

Adam’s mind kicked into counting mode. Shit, was he crazy?

“How’d you know where we were?”

“I heard za insurgents shouting to each ozer.” Fadi moved fast to administer the articles in his first-aid kit to Adam’s other wounds.

Crunching numbers didn’t do much to alleviate his pain, but the process helped him filter through Fadi’s heavy accent.

“At first I didn’t understand the words they were using for directions,” Fadi explained. “Arabic has two words to indicate left. One can mean north, depending on the dialect. I had to get closer to figure it out, and that’s when I saw you. Clifton was very mad. Didn’t want me to leave the team, but hey, I’m a contract interpreter, not one of his soldiers.”

The woman moaned from her corner. Fadi shot his head up and approached her.

“Who did this?”

“Needed to make sure she didn’t scream.” Adam tried to lift himself on his elbows. He groaned, the full force of deep searing pain setting in.

Fadi untied the woman’s mouth, released her hands, and spoke to her, his tone low and gentle.

“She’s an old woman, Adam. She’s trapped here just like we are. This is her home. No one and nothing is going to drive her out of it. You didn’t need to tie her up.”

“Not taking any chances.”

Scott’s praying voice disturbed rather than comforted Adam. He concentrated on breathing. Why couldn’t he just pass out and be spared this agony?

The woman placed her hands in her lap, flipped her palms upward and muttered something.

“What’s her problem?”

“She’s praying,” Fadi said.

“I didn’t hurt her. See what else you can do for Big Scott before I lose it.” Adam found it hard to formulate his words.

Fadi kneeled in front of Big Scott, tore a bag with his teeth, and spread its contents over his gaping wound.

Adam’s eyes darted between the old mother and Big Scott. Never hesitant Scott. Never questioning and never smiling either. Were they praying to the same God? Would He listen?

“Tell her I’m sorry I tied her up, will you?”

“Itlaa barrah balady,” the woman responded to Fadi.

“What the hell did she say?”

“She wants us to leave.”

“We wouldn’t be here if her people hadn’t planted that Goddamn IED. Tell her that.” Adam spat blood.

“She meant leave her country.”

Darkness closed in on Adam, the bliss of unconsciousness threatening to take over. He closed his eyes.

“I’m okay with that . . .”

 

 

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

Author Bio

Lilas Taha is a writer at heart, an electrical engineer by training, and an advocate for domestic abuse victims by choiceMEDIA KIT Lilas_Taha. She was born in Kuwait to a Syrian mother and a Palestinian father, and immigrated to the U.S. as a result of the Gulf war in 1990. She earned a master’s degree in Human Factors Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. There, Lilas met her beloved husband and true friend, and moved with him to Sugar Land, Texas to establish a family. She is the proud mother of a daughter and a son. Instead of working in an industrial field, she applied herself to the field of social safety, working with victims of domestic violence.

Pursuing her true passion for creative writing, Lilas brings her professional interests, and her Middle Eastern background together in her debut fictional novel, Shadows of Damascus.

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