Cover Reveal for Hope’s Decree and Hope’s Deceit

Title: Hope’s Decree
Author: Angela McPherson
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Untold Press
Cover Designer: Just write. Creations
Blurb:
When everything else is lost, there is always hope.
Most teens want an epic senior year. All Trinity Whitebone hoped for was a normal one. She is the direct descendant of Pandora and fated to rectify the terrors released into the world by her curious ancestor.
Blain Heros is the sworn guardian created by Zeus to protect Trinity. His mission is to train her to defend humans against Pandora’s curse. For Blain, training a mortal for battle is impossible. For Trinity, taking orders from an overbearing immortal whose touch leaves her dizzy, is hopeless. But with each passing lesson, frustration and confusion give way to an electrifying bond.
Together they are a force to be feared, only defending humans against an ancient curse isn’t the only threat in the world anymore. A band of rogue immortals is hunting Trinity because her power is key to unleashing an unholy darkness into the mortal realm. As the war between light and dark brews, Trinity vows to fully embrace her fate–or die trying.
*The final book in The Fated trilogy is coming out soon*
 
Title: Hope’s Deceit
Author: Angela McPherson
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Untold Press
Cover Designer: Just write. Creations
Blurb:
In the end, light may not be enough to outshine the darkness. 
After Melia’s near-fatal attack, the connection binding Trinity and Blain shifts, allowing a dark force to wedge them apart. Her only hope for the life she craves is stopping Melia and her gang of Rogues.
Too bad life never plays fair. As Trinity’s eighteenth birthday draws near, new abilities manifest. More problems occur when objects around her spontaneously erupt in flames. While Trinity tries to manage her new powers, Blain works with Watchers to root out Melia’s hiding place. Unfortunately, Trinity’s uncontrolled talent evokes suspicion, causing old friends to challenge her ability to fulfill her destiny.
 Havoc between the immortals ensues, leaving mortals unprotected as a new threat surfaces. Melia found a way to awaken an ancient god, whose wrath–if released–is sure to create more devastation than Pandora ever dreamed of. Everything about Trinity’s life is changing, except her vow: Keep those she cares for safe.
But fate always has an ulterior plan.
Born and currently residing in Texas, Angela works as a nurse during the day and an author by night. She’s addicted to cleaning, coffee, and fuzzy socks. When not spending time with her husband and their three children, working or writing, she’s reading a good book or listening to music.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Hope’s Decree: https://amzn.to/2Ig6V6j
Hope’s Deceit: https://amzn.to/2KFOx57
Hope’s Decree:
I couldn’t feel anything.
My whole freakish life I’d desperately wanted to shut out the surge of emotions I often felt from others. But this empty vacancy was out of place and wrong.
Off to my right, something flickered. I turned to look, and in the distance, a flash of light caught my attention. I watched, transfixed as it expanded and molded into the solid figure of a man. Curiosity or stupidity–not sure which–drew me toward him. With each step, my insides stirred, a desperate need beckoning me.
I made it close enough to see his coal black hair and broad shoulders before his image blurred and disappeared. Maybe I should have run, or at least tried, but an inexplicable force held me still. Now he stood behind me. I tensed as his massive arms wrapped around my waist.
His hold liberated my mind from the numbing loss of feelings, and fear pressed against me. Within him, profound fragments of greed and hate surged. But it was what those demented feelings led to that frightened me. A siege of war and bloodshed unlike the world has ever known.
Fear and terror spread through me like fire. I began to shake and my stomach rolled with nausea. His unbreakable hold suffocated the light inside of me and the darkness emerged.
Hope’s Deceit
Waking up every morning to Blain and his skillfully, mind- blowing kisses definitely made starting the day easier. Those lips
of his had a way of making me forget the outside world. His clean cotton and fresh-out-of-the-shower scent clung to him like static, and I couldn’t get enough. The feeling of comfort and safety while wrapped in his arms enveloped me, and the terrible images that startled me awake earlier faded away.
Melia being a Rogue and nearly killing me was frightening. But seeing the black orb attack Blain was a whole new level of terrifying. He seemed okay, though. God, I hoped he was okay.
Blain inched back, definitely far enough to see redness spread across my face, and grinned. His stare, the desire and need held there, made my pulse race. “God, you’re beautiful,” he said, stroking a thumb across my cheek.
His tender touch burned through me. The familiar buzz danced along my skin, and the colors from our power–white and gold– followed the sweet caress.
“This is my favorite part, the pink across your cheeks and knowing I put it there.”
I smiled. “Mine is definitely your lips.”
In turn, they kicked up in a sinful smile. The single butterfly in my stomach multiplied into a swarm. The clear blue in his eyes darkened, and he brought his mouth over mine.

A Need So Insatiable Release Day Blitz with Cecilia Robert

Title: A Need So Insatiable
Author: Cecilia Robert

Genre: New Adult Contemp Romance
Blitz Host: Lady Amber’s Tours


Blurb:

“You’ve owned me from the moment I walked into that music room. You’ve wrapped yourself in my heart and mind. I can’t get you out. I don’t want to.” ~ Rafael Van Rees

Sophie Fisher’s life is on fire. If she’s not ducking around corners or slipping out of windows to escape the debt collectors her father’s death has left knocking on her door, she’s dealing with her rebellious, fifteen-year-old sister, Lilli. And, as if that’s not enough, Rafael Van Rees crashes into her life—literally—bringing with him a past the public has no idea of. Can she unravel his mysteries before he unravels her, or will his presence finally force her to face the demons she’s trying to outrun?




I write YA, NA and Adult. My motto: Passion rules. I enjoy writing stories about people finding love in the most unexpected places, coupled with adventurous journeys, whether it’s urban, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary or paranormal romance. There’s always a happy ever after, no matter how long it takes to get there. When I’m not working in my full time job, I don my supermom cape, or in most cases find myself trapped between the pages of a book in search for a hero who’ll make me swoon with just a look or a word. My favourite form of therapy is knitting. Best. Therapy. Ever.
Author Links:

Buy Links:
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/A-Need-So-Insatiable-Hearts-ebook/dp/B00IWAZG2W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394423939&sr=8-1&keywords=a+need+so+insatiable

He nods curtly and as I turn, I feel his eyes on me. How does he manage to heat me up with just a look?I spin around to face him, irritated at my own feelings. How can he act like nothing happened, like there isn’t a connection between us? Maybe it’s just me? He doesn’t see it like I do. Ugh. I’m stupid.“You kissed me. Twice. Well, it wasn’t really a kiss, but you look so . . . so . . . unaffected. Didn’t you feel anything?” I blurt out, gripping the files in my hand. Shit! Why do I open my mouth without thinking things through? I swear, it’s like my emotions control what spews out of my mouth. Not my brain.He raises his right brow, studying me in that inscrutable way he does everything. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to–”“Stop.” He commands softly. He pushes away from his desk and prowls toward me, the exposed muscles on his forearms shifting. His eyes lock on mine, pinning me where I stand. I swallow hard, trying to reign in my chaotic thoughts.“Believe me, I did,” he says, halting in front of me. He tugs at the files clutched in my hands, and tosses them on the table by the door. He lowers his head a notch, and my lips part slightly, my body gravitating toward him. “You have a beautiful mouth. I’m so damn enthralled by it, I can’t think straight when I look at you. So don’t go thinking, for a second, that I didn’t enjoy kissing you. You’re not ready for my kiss, Sophie.”My stomach clenches at the way he says my name.Oh, I am ready. I feel as if I’ve been ready, waiting for him to kiss me all my life.He inches closer. The heat coming off him slams into me as he slips one arm around my waist, spinning me around so my back is to him. He yanks me back, my shoulder hitting his chest. My breathing speeds up as his erection presses against my butt. He slides his hands down my waist to grip my hips, then flattens one palm on my stomach. My skin tingles as his warm breath fans the sensitive area behind my ear, sending shiver after shiver scattering all over my body. I lay my head back against his chest, and shut my eyes tight, trying to take one breath at a time, but I can’t. His nearness is too overwhelming, his scent, freakin’ intoxicating.“When I finally kiss you, really kiss you, baby,” he says in a dark, low voice. “There’ll be no doubt about my feelings for you. I’ll fill every little part of this beautiful, curvy body of yours. I won’t just kiss you, Sophie. I’ll be priming you for what I’ve wanted to do from the second I saw you.”He traces his tongue along the shell of my ear, then gently nips my earlobe. His slides one hand up, brushes his knuckles softly across my cheek and along my collarbone. Dropping his arms, he turns and walks away, the heels of his boots clicking on the polished, tile floor.Sweet freakin’ Moses! What the hell am I supposed to do with all these . . . feelings he just bombarded me with? My stupid knees feel like someone melted my kneecaps. My body wants to chase after him and tackle him down, roaring like a Viking. But my feet feel like fucking lead!I grab the doorknob to keep myself up. I press my forehead on the cool, wooden surface, breathing deeply to stop my lungs from giving out.“Let me know if you need any help with the projects, or anything.” He says the last word in a low, soon-you’ll-be-mine voice, and just like that, he annihilates every single cell in my brain.  I jerk around to face him. He’s leaning back in his chair, his expression once again unreadable.Controlled.I force my feet forward, pick the files up and take a deep breath, praying it’s enough to carry me through the door, and to my desk. 

Come Back To Me Release Day Blitz with Abigail Lee

Title: Come Back To Me (Finding Love In Milton, #2)
Author: Abigail Lee 
Genre: NA Romance

Book Description –
Secrets…
Bailey Hart’s life crumbles beneath her when the one person she trusts the most turns out to be the only person lying to her.  Faced with another heartbreak and an unknown future, Bailey attempts to live the normal college life every girl her age dreams about. 
Refusing to look back…
Bailey finally has a grip on her new life when her world shakes again.  Her past reveals that not everything is as it seems, and she is faced with a choice.
Unable to move on…
What will Bailey do when she realizes the only person who can pick up the pieces of her heart is the same person who shattered it in the first place?



Lee is an Oklahoma native who received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Oklahoma State University in 2005. Beyond her passion for writing, Lee and her husband enjoy traveling and spending time with their growing family.
Lee currently resides in Oklahoma City with her husband, two sons and dog.
Also by Abigail Lee –
Stay With Me (Finding Love In Milton #1)
My Forever Valentine (Finding Love In Milton #1.5)
Author Links –
Buy Links –

Ty –I sat and stared at my computer screen, wondering what to write. She was the love of my life. That had definitely never changed. But how could I get her to see that I was still the love of her life? Bailey –“You ready for this?” He stepped into my line of vision.“I am.” I stepped forward and linked my arm with his. I froze for a few seconds before moving back. “Sorry, I wasn’t thinking.”“Don’t be sorry for that.” He closed the distance between us and placed his hand on my neck, tilting my head back and forcing me to look into his eyes. “Never be sorry for that.”

Uncovering You by Scarlett Edwards Blog Tour

Uncovering You Tour Banner

Uncovering You

by

Scarlett Edwards

Dark Romance

March 17th, 2014

Tour Host: Lady Amber’s Tours

Uncovering YouWhen I wake up in a dark, unfamiliar room, I have no idea what’s waiting for me in the shadows. My imagination conjures up demons of the worst kind.

Reality is much worse:

A collar with no leash. A prison with no walls. And a life stripped of meaning.

I am presented with a vile contract and asked to sign. It outlines the terms of my servitude. The only information I have about my captor are the two small letters inked at the bottom:

J.S.

Armed with only my memories, I must do everything I can to avoid becoming ensnared in his twisted mind games. But in the end, it all comes down to one choice:

Resist and die.

Or submit, and sign my life away.

GoodReads Link:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20512700-uncovering-you

Author Bio:

I live near beautiful Seattle, Washington.  I grew up reading all types of fantasy books before discovering the wonderful world of romances in high school.  Now, I spend most of my time writing about sexy men and the women who love them.

Links:

www.facebook.com/ScarlettEdwardsAuthor

www.scarlettedwards.com

www.goodreads.com/scarlettedwards

Uncovering You ebookExcerpt:  (Chapter one is also included, bloggers can post this in addition to the excerpt as a long teaser from the book)

“Lilly.”

Oh God. It’s him. There’s no mistaking that rich, masculine treble.

What’s he doing down here?

“M-Mr. Stonehart,” I stutter, turning. I curse my inability to hide my surprise. He totally caught me off-guard. I have to look up to meet his eyes. Then up some more.

The face that I find is so striking it should belong to a Greek god.

He’s younger than I expected. Late thirties, maybe early forties.

That means he started his company when he was younger than me!

Dark scruff lines his angular cheeks. His jet-black hair is styled in long, natural waves. My fingers itch to run through it.

Totally inappropriate.

He has a prominent nose that might be too big on a less imposing man, but on him, it’s perfect.

In short, he’s a package of the purest masculinity I’ve ever seen.

And then there are his eyes. Oh my God. His eyes. They pierce into me like honing missiles. They are the deepest black I have ever seen. They would be frightening if they weren’t so beautiful. When the light reflects a certain way, you catch a glimpse of the purple underneath.

They are like midnight sapphires. His eyes reveal a cunning intellect. Those eyes do not miss a thing.

Add all that to his towering height, his wide shoulders, his confident-yet-at-ease posture… and Stonehart cuts an intimidating figure.

My gaze darts to his left hand before I can stop it. No ring. He’s unmarried.

He looks down at me, expectantly. His eyes narrow ever so slightly, and I feel like I’m being dissected, measured up, and tucked away in some small corner of his brain. I imagine this is what a gemstone feels like under the magnifying class of the most critical appraiser.

Stonehart clears his throat. I come to with a start, realizing I haven’t said anything in ages. I open my mouth, but the capacity for speech seems like a foreign concept to my brain. “I—”

Somebody bumps into me from behind. I stagger forward. I’m not used to these shoes, so my heel steps the wrong way. My ankle twists under me, and I start to fall.

I don’t fall far. The hand still on my elbow tightens, and Stonehart pulls me into him.

I plaster myself onto the solid steel wall the man has for a body. I catch a scent of his cologne. It’s a deep, musky smell with a hint of charred spruce that is all male. It scrambles my thoughts even more.

“Sorry!” a rushed voice calls out. From the corner of my eye, I see the postman giving a hurried, apologetic wave.

Although the sequence lasts less than a second, it feels like an eternity. Pressed up against him like that, I don’t want to move. I know that I couldn’t have made a worse first impression.

Stonehart eases me off him with a firm yet gentle grip. Our eyes meet. I flush the most vibrant red. His fingers graze my forehead as he brushes a lock of hair out of my face.

Any tenderness I may have imagined vanishes when Stonehart takes out his cell. He long dials a key and growls an order. “Steven. See the delivery boy leaving right now? Have his building pass revoked.”

I gape. Stonehart keeps speaking. “Wait. I thought of one better. Bar his company from accessing the building.” There’s a pause. “For how long? Indefinitely. FedEx can talk to me when they have an improved employee selection program in place.”

The phone call gives me just enough time to compose myself. My heart’s still beating out of my chest. But nobody has to know that.

I speak without thinking. “You’re going to restrict the entire company from serving this building because of that?”

Stonehart humors me with an answer. “A company’s employees are its most important asset. Their behavior reflects the organization as a whole. If FedEx decided that clown is good enough for them, it tells me they’re sloppy. I do not do business with sloppy organizations.”

“What about the other tenants in the building?” I ask. “Won’t that piss them off?”

When I hear myself and realize how improper my question is, my cheeks flame red again.

Stonehart’s eyes darken, as if he cannot believe I asked that question. I open my mouth to apologize for my imprudence, hating the way my professional skills have evaporated into thin air. I’m cut off by a short, barked laugh.

“Miss Ryder.” He sounds amused. “I believe that is the most direct and honest question anybody has dared ask me in weeks.” He takes my elbow again and leads me to the elevators. I have to take two quick steps to match one of his long strides.

“Yes,” he continues. “They will be ‘pissed off.’ But the perk of owning a building—” he hits the elevator call button, “—is that you get to make executive decisions.” He gives me an unreadable glance as the doors open. “That is, at the risk of being questioned by inexperienced interns.”

If that isn’t a loaded remark, I don’t know what is. I flush scarlet red for the third time since I’ve met him. I’ve never had a man throw me so off balance.

The elevator is packed, for which I’m infinitely thankful. The trip up will give me some time to properlycompose myself.

Gratitude turns to panic when the crowd files out, meek as mice, when Stonehart steps in. None of the people waiting in the lobby follow us.

The doors close. I’m alone in here with him. My heart’s beating as fast as a hummingbird’s wings.

He catches me staring. “Impressed?” he asks.

“They know you,” I manage.

His dark eyes flash with amusement. “Astute.”

 

Chapter One

October 2013. Date unknown.

(Present day)

 

A faint hiss, like the sound of an angry cat, jars me from my sleep.

I open my eyes to pure blackness. I blink, trying to get my bearings. A vague memory forms in the back of my mind, too far away to reach.

Why can’t I see anything?

My breath hitches. Panic rips through my body as the horrifying answer comes to me:

I’m blind!

I scramble onto hands and knees and desperately claw at the dark, searching for something, anything, for my senses to latch onto.

A dim overhead light comes on.

Relief swells inside.

I plop back on my butt and close my eyes, taking deep breaths to dispel the rush of adrenaline released by my body. When my heart’s not beating quite so fast, I open my eyes again.

The light’s gotten brighter. I look up at the source. It’s far above me, like a dull, miniature sun. It spreads a little sphere around me, maybe ten feet in diameter. Past that, everything is swallowed by darkness.

An irksome memory keeps gnawing at me. But my head is too heavy to remember. I feel… strange. Kind of like I’m hung over, but without the telltale pounding between my ears.

Cautiously, I try to stand. My limbs are slow to react. They feel heavy, too, like they’ve been dipped in wet clay. I steady myself. Only when I’m satisfied that my knees won’t give out, do I strain my ears for that hissing sound again.

It’s coming from somewhere behind me. I turn back—and nearly smash my head on a gleaming white pillar.

What the hell?

The sound is forgotten as I reach out and brush tentative fingers against the pillar’s surface. It’s cool to the touch. Smooth, too. I put my other hand on it. If I had to guess, I’d say it was made of marble. But what is a lone, white marble pillar doing in the middle of this room?

The memory is like a gong going off inside my head. But trying to reach it is like grasping at a smooth, slippery stone at the bottom of an aquarium. Just when I think I have it, it slips through my fingers and falls even farther out of reach.

I walk a slow, measured circle around the pillar. If I tried wrapping my arms around it, I doubt if I could even span half the circumference. Something far in the back of my mind tells me I should be alarmed. I look behind me and frown. By what? A dark room?

No, you idiot. By the reason you’re here!

My eyes widen. The reason I’m here? I don’t… I don’t remember.

I wince and bring one hand to my temple. Why am I having so much trouble remembering?

I gasp as a second gruesome thought hits me. Did I lose my memory? Do I have… amnesia?

I sink down with my back to the pillar. Desperation starts to take over. I hold my head between my knees and close my eyes to focus.

My name is Lilly Ryder. I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 17th, 1990.

My eyes pop open. Joyous tears form in the corners. I do remember! I take a deep breath and try to keep going.

I was raised by my mom. I do not know my dad…

Suddenly, all my childhood memories come streaming back. Moving around as a kid. Never staying in one place longer than six months. All the cities I’ve lived in. All the apartments my mom and I called home. Even the revolving door of her boyfriends. There was Dave, and Matthew. Tom, and Steve. There was…

I shake my head to stop myself. I don’t doubt my memory anymore. But that still does not explain why I have absolutely no recollection of this place, or how I got here.

I push myself back up. The spotlight above me has gotten progressively brighter. The little enclosure of light doesn’t feel quite so tight anymore. I trail my eyes up the length of the pillar. I can’t see where it ends because of the light. But I can tell it’s tall, at least twenty, maybe twenty-five feet…

There’s also something about its surface that calls out to me. My hands itch to run over the smooth stone. A giggle bubbles up as I picture myself stroking it. The column is quite phallic.

I waver at the unfamiliar thought and have to catch my balance against the beam.

Focus, Lilly! I chide myself.

I have no idea where that thought came from. I have never been overtly sexual.

Nothing feels right. The fog that’s heavy on my mind is starting to lift, but not yet enough for me to understand—or remember—where the hell I am. This place is unfamiliar. I know that much. But right now, I feel almost like a surgery patient whose anesthetic kinked out: fully awake mentally, but completely impaired physically.

I go back to my memories. I can remember high school. I remember college. That’s where I spent the last three years of my life, isn’t it? Yes. Yes, it is.

“Hello?” I call out. My voice echoes into the surrounding gloom. “Is anybody there?”

I wait for an answer. All I get is the hollow repetition of my own voice.

anybody there, there, there…

I spent the last three years in college… but that’s not where I think I am right now. No. I shake my head. I knowthat’s not where I am. My memories are fuzzier the closer I bring them to today. Time feels… skewed. Freshman year’s easy to remember. So is sophomore, and most of junior… but things get weird toward the end.

I… finished junior year, didn’t I? Yes. Yes, I did. And then…

And then I took an internship in distant California for the summer, I remember with another gasp.

Suddenly, my mind is crystal clear. That pressing memory hurtles into view. It’s from yesterday. The last thing I recall, I was alone in a booth at an upscale restaurant. The waiter brought me a glass of wine. I took a few sips, contemplating my future….

Oh, God! Fear wraps a stranglehold around my neck.

The restaurantThe wine.

I’ve been drugged!

I can’t breathe. A suppressing tightness constricts my throat. I feel dizzy, and terrified, and most of all… ashamed.

Holy shit, Lilly, way to look out for yourself! My semi-mad inner dialogue pans with a generous dollop of sarcasm.

I’ve always known about the dangers of sick men preying on unsuspecting girls. I just never thought I’d fall victim to it.

I’ve been on my own since I turned eighteen, after the final falling out with my mother. I’ve always been proud of how well I managed. Even the shabby holes I’ve lived in while saving up college tuition were an improvement over living with her and all her low-life boyfriends. At least there, I had autonomy.

I’ve dealt with landlords selling crack on the side and the junkies they attract. Always, I’ve been known as independent, and strong—maybe offputtingly so. But, those were the character traits I had to develop to have any chance of getting ahead.

And all that lead to what? To this? To letting my guard down for one night and ending up… here?

Wherever “here” is, I think to myself.

The shock of the revelation has subsided a bit. I push off from the pillar. I can figure this out. I take a deep breath and look at my hands and feet. I am not bound. I pick at my clothes. They are the same ones I wore last night.

Do you know what might be lurking in the darkness?

I shove the meddlesome voice down. I don’t need more worries. Not now.

Carefully, I place one foot in front of the other and edge to the outer reaches of the light. The strange hissing noise has gone away. I don’t know when that happened. Maybe it was in my head the entire time.

I strain my eyes, trying to pierce the surrounding darkness. It’s impossible. I reach out with one hand and find nothing but air. This far from the pillar, I can barely see my outstretched hand.

“Hello?” I try again. “Who’s there?”

There’s no answer.

What kind of madman would do something like this? I wonder. What is hidden in the shadows?

Without warning, my imagination starts to run wild. Torture devices? Bondage equipment? Something… worse?

Snap out of it! I tell myself firmly.

I refuse to give in to despair, even if my entire self-preservation mechanism is on high alert. Despair is what whoever brought me here wants me to feel.

I will not succumb to that.

I look down at the floor. It is made of some expensive stone. I kneel down and brush my hand over the large, square tiles. They feel solid. Sturdy. They don’t belong in a dingy basement or a dirty warehouse.

Somehow, that thought strengthens me. Things aren’t quite as bad as they could be.

I stand up and peer into the black. I glance back at the safety of my pillar. If I venture past the light, I can always find my way back.

Go slow, I warn myself. Who knows what might be waiting for me out there?

I’ve seen the horror movies. Just because I don’t get the dungeon vibes here does not mean I’m not in one.

Haltingly, my foot reaches past the edge.

A thousand bright lights flood the room. I gasp and shy back, shielding my eyes on instinct.

After a few seconds, I lower my arm, blinking through the sharp pain that shoots through my head. I can almost groan. Light sensitivity, too?

Then I see the room.

Holy shit.

It’s huge. Massive. It must be at least five thousand square feet of pristine, flat space. I’m smack dab in the middle of it all.

The lights come from embedded ceiling lamps high overhead. Three of the walls, far away from me, are decorated with black and white abstract paintings created in bold brush strokes. The fourth wall is shielded by a heavy red curtain. The entire floor is made of rich, creamy white tiles reminiscent of steamed milk.

The ceiling is so high above me I almost feel like I’m in a cathedral. It’s made of exquisite dark oak beams.

But this is no church.

I do a slow turn. Something about this is all wrong.

So wrong.

Why am I here? What is behind the curtain? Other than the massive pillar and the paintings, there is nothing in the room.

If I’m being kept prisoner, why am I unbound? Why waste so much space on me?

I cup my hands around my mouth and yell.

“HEY! Anybody? Where am I?”

As before, I’m greeted with silence.

I take one more careful look around. If I got in, there must be a way out.

My eyes dart to the curtain.

Behind there.

I start toward it, my bare feet making determined slaps against the cold floor. I’ve not even gone ten paces toward it when I feel a small tug on my ankle.

I stop and look down. I discover a thread, so thin it’s almost translucent, tied loosely around my foot. The other end is attached to the base of the pillar.

I bend down and finger it.

What on earth is this?

The thread looks like it should snap with the smallest amount of force. I wrap my hands around it and tug.

It doesn’t give.

I frown, and apply a little more effort.

This time, it breaks in a clean cut.

I shake my head as I straighten.

Strange.

I half-expected something to happen when I did that. Alarms to blare, the lights to go off, something.

Nothing.

That’s when I notice a small white envelope leaning against the pillar. It’s right where the thread connects. In fact, it blends so well with the marble that I’m sure I would have missed it were it not for the string.

Exploration forgotten for now, I pick up the envelope. Maybe it will give some clue about what the fuck is going on.

It’s made of heavy paper. A wax stamp seals it, imprinted with a two-faced drama mask that I would find unnerving no matter where I saw it.

The only time I saw a wax-sealed envelope was when my ex got tapped by the Spade and Grave at Yale. I can understand the need for antiquity in New Haven. It makes no sense here.

My finger slips under the flap. I carefully ease it open. A foreboding sense of doom swirls around me as I pull the folded letter out.

I stare at it for a long minute. This is all so surreal. It feels like being caught in a bad dream. Once, I play myself right into my captor’s hands.

My natural inclination to resist, to fight back, tells me to tear the paper up without another glance. But that would be madness. The only clue I have to my whereabouts might be contained inside.

My thirst for information gets the better of me. I sit on the floor, cross my legs, and slowly unfold the paper.

It’s handwritten in swift, flowing blue ink. The rows of words make perfect strides across the page. Precision is the first word that comes to mind to describe the owner of the handwriting.

I set the sheet on the floor in front of me, lean forward and begin to read:

 

Two items require your immediate attention.

 1.   You may spuriously assume you are being held here against your will. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You are a guest. As a guest, you retain full ability to leave my home at any time. The door behind the drapes shall remain open for the duration of your stay. There are no physical barriers to speak of—though I would advise you to read to the end of this letter before making decisions based on a flawed understanding of your situation.

2.   You may have already noted the new adornment around your neck. If so, well done! I applaud—

 

Adornment? I stop reading. What adornment?

I bring my hands to my neck. I feel the unfamiliar shape against my skin. Why hadn’t I noticed it before?

I scamper closer to the marble pillar to try to make out my reflection. I can’t see much, but I can make out the “adornment”. There’s a black collar around my throat. I touch it with one hand.

It’s smooth and flat. It’s made of some kind of matted plastic, like the edges of a computer screen. It’s not tight or uncomfortable.

It frightens me. If it warranted a place in the letter, there must be something to it. I need to get it off.

My fingers dart around the edges, seeking the clasp that opens it.

I don’t find one.

The collar is smooth inside and out. It feels like a single piece of plastic. I trail one finger around the rim on the inside, and, finding no discrepancies, do the same on the outside. Again, I feel nothing.

There’s no crack, no edge, nothing to indicate how it was put around my neck.

I jam all my fingers between my skin and the plastic and pull with all my might. The collar flexes ever-so-slightly but doesn’t give.

Dammit! I cry out and try again.

I pull with all the strength God gave me. It’s not enough. I try again, and again, and again.

Nothing.

I realize I’m panting at this point. The exertion has me almost hyperventilating.

I drop my hands. It’s just a stupid, harmless little piece of plastic. Why do I want it off so much?

Because the idea of having anything foreign touch your skin is repulsive.

The voice is right, as always. But what can I do? The collar is bound to be part of the mind game in which I’m an unwitting participant. Reacting the way I just did is probably exactly what my captor wants. He—and I am certain it’s a “he” now, from the wording of the letter—wants me to feel terrified.

I will not give him the pleasure. I return to the letter and continue to read:

…applaud your perspicacity! You should know, however, that it is not an ordinary collar. Contained inside is a small positioning chip and two electrodes. They become activated the moment you stray outside your designated safe zone.

The string around your foot offers a conservative estimation of the distance you may roam past the marble column. Stay close, and you will remain untroubled. I am told that the electric shock the collar provides, while not lethal, can be quite unpleasant.

 

Holy fuck!

My spine goes absolutely straight and I forget to breathe. Now the collar has meaning. It feels like a live serpent wrapped around my neck.

My eyes are wide as I look down to my foot. The piece of string is still there, but it’s not connected to the one linked to the pillar.

I’d ripped it like a moron.

How far do I dare go? I’ll have to retie the string—unless I find a way to get the collar off my neck, first.

Another thought occurs to me:

Maybe this is a bluff? Does the collar really have an electrode in it? It’s so thin. Where would it draw power from?

I stand up. Assuming the collar is rigged, and the pillar is the center point… but that’s just what he wants me to believe, isn’t it? The letter claims there’s a door behind the drapes. It could be my path to freedom. I would have to be an idiot to stay here without testing the boundary myself.

I can’t trust anything the letter says. But, I can’t give in to despair, either. My only choice is to contest everything that’s thrown at me. If this is supposed to be a battle of the wills, the guy chose the wrong girl to mess with.

I pick up the remainder of the string and hold it in my fist. I square my shoulders to the long, drawn curtain. I hold my head high. My free hand itches to tug at the collar, but I keep it still. If my captor is watching me—which I’m sure he is, because I’m positive there are cameras hidden all around me—I will not give him the satisfaction of seeing me hesitate.

I take a deep breath and start toward the curtained wall. My strides are strong and purposeful. I will not waver. I will not turn back. Fear of a little shock will not keep me from testing the true limits of this prison.

The string goes taut, and I stop.

So far, so good.

It’s the next few steps that will determine everything.

I glance at the floor to mark my position. So, he expects to keep me in an invisible cage, does he? A cage of my own imagination?

Yeah, tough luck.

I drop the string and take one solid step forward.

Nothing happens.

I risk one more.

Nothing happens.

The corner of my lip twitches up in a hint of a smile. I called his bluff. But, I’m not home free yet. The veiled wall is another thirty-odd paces away from me.

I take two more steps forward, and, when nothing happens, start to walk more briskly.

My stroll is cut short by a sharp little zap beneath my left ear.

I tense and wait for more.

Well, color me surprised.

It looks like the collar does have bite, after all. When a second jolt doesn’t come, I can’t stop my smile from becoming a satisfied smirk. I knew the collar couldn’t possible have enough juice to hurt me. Where would the battery go?

Extremely pleased with myself, I venture onward, toward the curtain and its promise of freedom.

The violent torrent of electricity blindsides me. One second I’m on my feet, the next I’m writhing on the floor.

The current pours into me. I thrash about like a grounded fish. Fierce convulsions rock my body. And all I know is pain, pain, pain.

I can feel the source of it, snug around my neck. I’m helpless to fight the onslaught. My head flails about on the ground, throwing hair into my face. A high-pitched squeal sounds in my ears and I desperately hope that pathetic sound is not me.

My eyes roll up and all goes black.

 

Release Day Blitz for The Harder I Fall by Jessica Gibson~ Hosted by Lady Amber’s Tours

Title: The Harder I Fall
Author: Jessica Gibson     
Genre: New Adult  Contemporary Romance

Blitz Host: Lady Amber’s Tours

Blurb:
Becca Langer was not a normal girl, she didn’t have normal girl problems. For most of her life, she’s had to take care of herself, her younger brother Chad, and her drunk mother. She’s lived under the shadow of what her father did when she was ten years old. Forever branded by his actions.College was her escape, she could get away and finally live. Her dream was to make it in the New York Ballet Company one day. That for her meant a long road full of hard work and dedication. She didn’t have time for distractions, and Levi Klein was definitely a distraction.

Will Levi be able to crack through her tough exterior and really see the wounded soul underneath? Becca needs to be loved, but the question is, will she let Levi love her?

Facebook Release Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/482673011839050/

Jessica Gibson is a recovering bookaholic, she’s down from four books a week to a more reasonable one. It was that love of words and creativity that made her dream about writing her first book. That dream was hidden for years, always put on the back burner, filed away in the “someday” section, until her husband Matt gave her the kick in the pants she needed to actually get off her butt and write.
Jessica and Matt live in Southern California and have a serious addiction to reality tv shows like Pawn Stars and American Restoration. They have one son and hope to add to the family in the near future.
Aside from writing, she runs an online event planning business called the Release Day Diva. In addition to novels, Jessica writes and maintains the blog Book on the Bright Side. Keep up with Jessica and her latest releases and events on her blog.


Links

Chapter Reveal of Lean On Me by Candy Crum Hosted by Lady Amber’s Tours

Title: Lean On Me
Author: Candy Crum          
Genre: YA Romance
Expected Release Date: March 16, 2014
Book Description:
Sixteen year old Bri comes from a wealthy family, allowing her an expensive pass into the popular crowd, though it never much mattered to her. She’s on the basketball team and track and is the top in both. 

Bri has everything a girl could want, but she longs for a traditional family that loves one another deeply and would do anything for one another instead of the one she was gifted – cold and very distant. Growing up this way has left Bri alone and forced to raise herself.
Bri’s parents pressure her to be the best at everything instead of just being the best that she can be. As a result of trying for the perfect life for her parents, hoping that it will one day impress them, Bri finds herself in an abusive relationship for title rather than love with the high school football star and pressured into doing what a lot of teenagers are pressured into doing. When Bri becomes pregnant, her entire world is turned upside down and she has no idea who she can trust anymore. Bri struggles to find a place in this world for herself and for her baby – the baby that she is desperate to have and watch grow. Along the way, Bri is given an opportunity to completely change her life and the life of her child – but it may hinder the life of someone incredibly important to her … binding him to a future he was never meant to have, just for her. Bri is forced to grow and grow stronger as she fights for her baby and learns how to be a good mother.Facebook Release Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/281081868715512/


Candy Crum lives in Indiana and is the Author of “The Eternal Series” and other short stories. She published her first novel, The Eternal Gift, in May of 2011 and has been publishing ever since. Candy is an avid lover of the paranormal genre, stemming from years of reading the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice when she was a teenager. Later, she developed a deep love of the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead and the House of Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, furthering her love of the genre and pushing her to really push to finish and publish her novel.
Since then, Candy has released three other books in The Eternal Series and will release another later in 2014. Now, Candy is trying her hand at more contemporary pieces of work, like that of Lean on Me and other books she will release in 2014.
Some of Candy’s interests include the usual reading and writing, music (of most types), movies (action and comedy or any combination of the two), cartoons (she loves to say that her children watch cartoons because she does), and drawing. She loves talking with her fans and loves reading the reviews that her fans are kind enough to leave for her. Always feel free to find Candy on Facebook and send her a message!
Lean on Me by Candy Crum
Chapter 4
Bri struggled to breathe as the wind hissed from her lungs with the awkward landing. Her vision was blurry and her head throbbed. She wanted to scream, but was silenced with something being strapped across her mouth – duct tape. Her attacker grabbed her by the hair and dragged her backward, behind the store. She screamed from behind the tape and kicked her legs, struggling to get free.
Tears streamed down her face as she immediately worried for the condition of her baby. She’d landed hard on her belly. She had no idea what it would take to end a pregnancy by blunt force. The attacker used her hair to pull her up to her feet before slamming her hard into a wall. As soon as her vision cleared, fear coursed through her, adrenaline threatening to make her pass out.
Before, she’d worried that her attacker may hurt her baby (even by accident, not knowing she was with child) in the process of robbing her. Now, she knew the object of this attack was solely for the purpose of harming her baby. She stared into Mike’s cold, hard eyes. She heard the chuckles of four of his friends surrounding him.
“Your mom called,” Mike said, gently running his fingertips down the side of her face. “She said that she was sorry her daughter was so confused. She begged me to take you back. Even told me where you’d be so I could come and talk to you. That was nice of her, wasn’t it?”
Bri sobbed as she tried to push him away, knowing that even if she managed to fight him off, there were four more to subdue her.
“I know we had our little chat just today, but I got to thinking about it and it’s been quite a long time since you and I fooled around. You know what that means? Docs around here won’t do an abortion without parental consent because of the increased risks.”
Bri felt disgusted that he stated that so casually. He was a stupid boy. He didn’t know a lot about anything that wasn’t sports related. She imagined that he’d learned it from other experiences like this, either his own or his friends.
“But you won’t talk to your parents, will you, Bri?” he asked, pushing himself closer. She was terrified, too terrified to move. She wished that she could get to her phone. She wished that she could call for Matt’s help. “I didn’t think so.”
She realized then that she’d been too scared to answer, too scared to lie her way out of it – even from behind tape. Bri was about to answer by way of nodding when the first blow to her face came. She was hit hard, several smaller bones in her face crushing under the blow. She landed hard on the ground, blackness seeping in as she felt the first painful kick to her abdomen. Please, God, was the last thing to enter her mind as she lost consciousness.

“Her pulse is weak,” she heard a man say from above her. She looked up to see an attractive young man hovering above her. “My name is Gerome and I’m the EMT that responded to the call. You were attacked, ma’am. We are about halfway to the hospital. Do you have any allergies?”
Bri shook her head, but remembered that she had one. “Ery… Ery…” As hard as she tried the name wouldn’t come.
“Erythromycin?” he asked.
She nodded. “That’s it.” Her eyes bolted open as she tried to sit up, but she was strapped down. “My baby!”
“Your baby? Are you pregnant, ma’am?”
“Yes! Almost four months. They were kicking me in the stomach! Is the baby still alive? Can you tell?” She was frantic as tears started rolling down her face. She could feel the scrapes on her face as the salty tears stung them on the way down her cheeks.
“Jo!” he called to the front of the ambulance. “Is the fetal Doppler working yet?”
It was a woman that called back. “Oh, God. She’s pregnant? They took it out. It was smashed after the rookie dropped it and stepped on it. They’re supposed to be replacing it tomorrow.”
“What’s a fetal Doppler?” Bri asked.
“It’s a wand that I could place against your lower abdomen and listen for the heartbeat. Unfortunately, we don’t have one.”
“That’s the only way that you can check on her?”
“I’m sorry. That’s the only way that I can tell in here. A stethoscope can’t really pick anything up through the uterine wall. Not in here for sure, though in a quiet room it’s probably possible. You’re having a little girl?” he asked, a sad smile breaking through as he worried for both of them.
“It’s just a hunch,” she said. Her entire body was shaking from shock and fear. Her eyes were growing heavy again, but she wanted to stay awake. She needed to know everything that was going on. “Do you think she will be okay?”
Gerome sighed and placed his hand over hers. “Bad things happen to good people every day. I know. I see a lot of it around here. But one thing I know for sure is that as bad as some of those things are, I have seen some of the most miraculous recoveries. People that never should have lived that were able to go home to their families and live their lives. People think that babies are fragile, and they are, but not nearly as fragile as we assume. That baby wasn’t outside exposed to the attack. She was cradled inside your body. You’re alive. So it’s okay to hold out hope that she is too. But…”
“But it’s best to know that I’m young and this is still really early in the pregnancy,” she said, interrupting him.
He nodded. “That’s right. Listen, you’re not looking too good yourself. Worrying and stressing puts you both in danger. Your vitals are slow, so you need to relax and let me worry about both of you. We will be at the hospital in about five minutes. Focus on staying alive. If you go, so does she. She’s too young to survive outside the womb.”
His words hit her hard. She forced a nod and relaxed. Her ribs ached with every breath, but she forced herself to steady her breathing and try to will the pain away. When she was twelve, she’d fallen during a gymnastics practice and broke her ankle. She’d begged her mother for a week to take her to the hospital, but she wouldn’t, saying that Bri had only twisted her ankle and to stop worrying over nothing. It was finally her father that took her, learning that she’d broken it quite badly and would require surgery.
For that incredibly painful week before seeking treatment, Bri had to learn how to will the pain away. She practiced breathing techniques and focused on something in whatever room she was in as she imagined “pushing” the pain away from herself. She later learned that was a legitimate meditation technique and even taught to some pregnant women to use during labor.
Bri now called on her past experience to help her through the excruciating pain. Being unable to take deep breaths made her work difficult, but she was able to relax as she closed her eyes and focused on what it would be like to be a mother. She imagined herself holding her baby for the first time and being surrounded by the people that she loved. Soon, her mind completely overtook her as she disappeared into unconsciousness once again with only dreams of her baby to sooth her.

Bri’s eyes slowly fluttered open, well – one of Bri’s eyes fluttered open. The other was completely swollen shut. As she realized she now only had use of one of her eyes, she began to panic. She tried to move, but her hands were bound, as were her feet. She tried to scream for help, but her throat was too sore to make such a loud noise.
The sound of frantic beeping entered her ears just before she heard multiple footsteps stampeding into the room. She began to come around as she realized that she was in a hospital. A doctor came into view, a face that was familiar to her. He was her childhood doctor. Another familiar face stepped into view; she was Matt’s mother’s OB/GYN, Maree Metcalf. She’d met her once when she accompanied them to a well-mother prenatal appointment.
“Briana,” Doctor Conway, her pediatrician spoke. “Try to calm down. You’re safe and in the hospital. You were brutally attacked. You can speak, but try to keep quiet. It appears that you were choked. There was some damage done to the trachea, but nothing permanent or needing surgery. It should heal on its own as long as you’re gentle with it.”
She nodded. “Bri.” Another familiar voice. She looked off to the right to see her parents sitting there, holding her hand.
They weren’t there a moment ago, she thought. They must have come in with the doctors.
“How are you feeling?” her father asked.
Bri began to speak a couple of times, only managing a cough as she tried to clear her throat. “Like I was just beaten half to death by Michael Rhodes and his minions.”
Her mother sighed, her eyes closing as she rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Briana Grace. He would never do such a thing. It was he that called us and called 911! Why would he do that if he was the one that hurt you? You owe him an apology.”
Bri laughed again, painfully, just as she had before. That was the final straw. She realized then that her parents didn’t love her. If they did, they did a terrible job showing it. They only loved the idea of having the perfect offspring, the daughter that excelled at everything, and she refused to be that anymore. She was a woman now, a woman that had just been attacked for the purpose of killing her unborn child.
She turned to Doctor Metcalf, now understanding why she’d been there with her. “How am I?” she asked, hoping the doctor would get her meaning.
“You will be just fine. You have a few broken bones in your face, a broken finger, two broken ribs, swollen but otherwise healthy ankle, damage to your trachea, and lots of bumps, bruises, and cuts. But you’ll be just fine.” She smiled softly, reaching out and placing her hand on Bri’s leg. “And the baby is just fine as well. We were fully prepared not to find a heartbeat. Most of the attack was directed at your abdomen. But we did. Your baby is just fine, for now. We will need to keep you for a few days to monitor you both.”
“Wait a minute,” Bri’s father said. “Baby?”
For a moment, Bri thought she saw something that momentarily looked like a very faint, almost too-terrified-to-come-out-of-hiding smile cross her father’s face, but that was over and gone as soon as her mother opened her mouth. She briefly wondered, before her mother started in, how he could have been so disgusted with a co-worker’s daughter being with child, but be momentarily happy with his own. Or had she only imagined the smile?
“You’re pregnant? That’s why you’ve been acting so strangely?” She stood and began pacing back and forth from the head of the bed to the foot and back again. “This is terrible. How could you do such a stupid thing? Is it Mike’s? He just didn’t seem like that kind of boy!”
Bri focused her rage, trying not to have an outburst, knowing that it will hurt her far more than it would her parents. “This stupid thing wasbecause I had an abusive boyfriend that I was petrified of. No one believed me when I said that I was scared of him. Not even you! Everyone said that I was being foolish. That he was a great guy. That I was reading things wrong. Then one night he pressured me into having sex with him. Mom, the way he grabbed me, I knew that if I didn’t, he’d hurt me. One time – that’s all I’ve done it, and I didn’t even want to then. This is not my fault. I was trying to find a way out of the relationship, away from him to prevent being pressured into anything or being physically injured.”
“Well it seems to me that you moved a little slow. This is just awful. What will everyone say? Oh dear, is that why you quit the team? This is awful. Just awful.”
Her mother was a mess, just pacing and rambling.
“Mom, it’s going to be fine. Why should we care what anyone else thinks? I’m finishing school. I’m excited to show this baby exactly what you can do – no matter how hard the circumstances are – and still succeed. I’m going to go to college. I’m still going to do everything that I wanted to before, minus trying for a sports scholarship. That was more your dream than mine. I just love the game.”
Tears ran down her mother’s cheeks as their eyes locked. “Briana, you can’t have this baby. Please, you’re too young. You’ll regret it the rest of your life.”
Bri shook her head and smiled. “No, Mom. If I give up this baby – by any means – I’ll regret that for the rest of my life. Even if I hated and had no desire to take part in the circumstances that led up to this baby, he or she is still all of the best parts of me. How can I abandon that? Don’t make me do this. I’ll never forgive you and I’ll never forgive myself. I’ll always wonder what could have been and it will destroy me.”
“I just don’t think you understand just how hard your life is about to become if you keep that baby,” her mother said, voice quivering a little as she spoke. Something about the way Ellen chose her words sent chills down Bri’s spine. She wasn’t exactly sure what to make of them.
Shaking it off, Bri smiled again. “Yes I do, and that’s okay. I don’t care if the world hates me. It’s not their life. It’s mine. Everything will be just fine.”
Her mother squeezed her hand once. “You should rest. You’ve been through a lot today. We are going to go get some coffee and think about everything.”
Bri nodded, the motion immediately regrettable. Her throat was beginning to feel a little better, though she was incredibly thirsty. Talking so much had both helped and hurt. “Can I get these off now?” Bri asked, referring to her restraints.
“Yes. Sorry about that,” Doctor Conway said. “You pulled out three IVs and punched two of the nurses. We had no choice. Sedation wasn’t a great option because of the baby’s slowed heart rate and you were already unconscious anyway.”
“I am – so – sorry,” Bri said. She felt terrible for having hurt the people that had only tried to help her.
“It’s quite normal in victims of violent crimes.” Doctor Conway released her of the restraints. “I’d like for you to get some more rest. I’m going to give you a pain medication that will help prevent breakthrough pain as well as allow you to sleep. Until the baby’s heart rate comes back up, we will have to be pickier than normal with your pain meds.”
Bri nodded. She didn’t like the idea of being loaded up on drugs, especially while pregnant, but she didn’t want to feel the pain of all of her broken bones and she trusted the doctors to care for both of them. The words of the paramedic came back to her. That fighting and straining could hurt her and hurt the baby. Rest seemed best for now. “Thank you, Doctor.”

Hours passed before Bri woke again. Her sleep was dreamless, and for that she was grateful. Her ribs screamed at her when she tried to sit. She needed to go to the bathroom, but knew it was impossible to go alone. Within moments, the nurse was in her room, responding to her call. By the time the nurse helped her out, Matt was sitting in a bedside chair, smiling at her.
“Aren’t you just so cute in your ball gown,” he said, giving her a wink. He stood and came to her unoccupied side to help the nurse get her back into bed. Bri slowly sat on the edge of the bed, taking a moment to adjust to the pain. Matt placed his hands on her shoulders to stabilize and support her. “I’ve got her from here,” he said softly to the nurse.
“Okay,” the nurse responded, smiling. “If you need anything else, call me. I’m going to change your trash while I’m in here.” She walked across the room and began the task of switching bags.
“You don’t have help me, ya know,” Bri told Matt, still sitting upright. “I really hoped you wouldn’t find out. I didn’t want you to see me like this.”
Matt moved his hands from her shoulders to gently hold her face. He tilted her head upward and he looked into the eye that was open. “I don’t care how bruised, how broken, or how immobile you are now or will ever be in the future. You’re beautiful. Don’t let that asshole tear you down from the pedestal you belong on.” He placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
Out of her periphery, Bri saw the nurse stop at his words, placing a hand over her chest as a smile crossed her face. She was clearly moved by his words, as was Bri. No one had ever spoken to her like that, though he was always sweet and gentle with her.
“Well, that was awfully sweet for a barbarian like yourself,” Bri joked.
Matt shrugged. “I have my moments. Actually I wanted to get you in a headlock and screw up your hair – though I don’t think it’s possible to get it more amazing than it is right now. But – I figured there’d be some rule against abusing the patients.” He winked and helped her lie down before taking the seat next to her bed that he’d previously been occupying. Bri raised the head of her bed so she could sit at a wide angle, allowing her to sit and speak comfortably, but not so tightly as to squeeze her broken ribs.
“Can I get anything else for you?” the nurse asked, still smiling.
“Some ice chips maybe?” Bri said. “My throat is still a little sore.”
The nurse nodded. “Not a problem.”
Matt stood as the nurse made her way out the door. “I’ll go grab them from her so she doesn’t have to come back in.”
“Thank you,” Bri said. “I hate asking them for anything. I know they’ve got other patients who need more than I do.”
Matt laughed. “Wow. Woman, do you realize you’re more than likely one of the more serious patients on the floor? Most of these people probably have shortness of breath or respiratory infections of some kind.”
Bri shrugged, immediately regretting the action. “Still, I feel bad.” Matt shook his head at his friend and smiled before turning to leave the room. “Oh! Sorry, but could you see how my parents are doing? They were out there getting coffee somewhere.”
“Sure, no problem.”
Bri slowly reached for the call light/TV remote control and turned on the flat screen hanging from her wall. She began flipping through channels until she found something that made her happy. It was a rerun of The Vampire Diaries. She nestled in as comfortably as she could before placing the remote at her side and watching.
Twenty minutes or so passed before Matt came back. “Did you have to wait for the ice to freeze?” Bri asked, forcing a pained half-smile. Her face felt more swollen all the time, though she imagined if it actually was, the nurses would have noticed. She imagined it was just her pain tolerance lowering, possibly the pain medication wearing off.
Matt didn’t smile as he walked over to the bed, handing her a small Styrofoam cup with a plastic spoon. He looked behind him to the large closet in the room with double doors meant for patients to store their personal items. He opened it and his eyes momentarily closed before he reached inside.
“What? What’s wrong?” Bri asked. She watched as he pulled an envelope from the closet. He brought it over and sat it next to her on the bed. “What’s wrong? It’s just an envelope.”
He sighed. “It’s not just an envelope. It’s your envelope.”
“Why was it in the closet?”
Matt lightly shook his head as he tore it open, studying the contents. Bri’s heart began to speed up as she saw a flash of color of what was inside. Money.
“That’s for ordering food while I’m stuck in here. They work all the time and know hospital food sucks,” she said, trying to stop the tears from escaping her eyes. Even saying it, she didn’t believe it. “Where’s my phone?” she asked, wanting to call her parents.
Matt sighed again as he pulled her phone from his pocket. “The nurses had it in a bag of your belongings that you came in with. It survived the attack, thanks to the case. But you’re wasting your time, Bri. I tried to make a call from it. It’s been disconnected.”
Her jaw dropped open as a harsh breath escaped her. “What? What’s going on?”
Matt quickly put the money back in the envelope, having counted one hundred dollars, and sat it on the bedside table. He took a seat at Bri’s side and gently held her injured hand. “When I asked the nurses where I could possibly find your parents, the charge nurse stepped forward. I knew right then when they turned to her to answer my questions that it wasn’t good. She said that she overheard them discussing what to do. That your mom was insistent that she wouldn’t raise another baby and that you needed to learn your lesson. She told me your parents slipped the money into the cabinet and told the charge nurse to inform me if I came in. They knew I would.”
Bri shook her head, ignoring the physical pain for her emotional pain and confusion. “What are you saying, Matt?”
His eyes momentarily closed again as he searched for the words. “They gave you that money to give you a start on your own. They’ve kicked you out of the house, Bri. They shut off your phone, too. I called my sister and she drove by and saw a couple of boxes sat out on the curb. She recognized a few of your things piled on top. I’m so sorry. I’m honestly shocked. I knew they were cold, but this…”
That’s what she meant by saying that I had no idea how hard that my life was about to become if I decided to have this baby. Oh my God, Matt. What am I going to do?” she asked, staring off at nothing in particular. She began rubbing her sore abdomen, not caring about the pain, just wanting to feel close to her baby. She was in shock. She thought her parents would hate her, punish her, ban her from anything remotely pleasurable, but she never imagined this.
“You’re going to focus on getting better. When you get out, you can come stay a few days with me, longer if you need.”
“Matt – I can’t stay with you. If your mother finds out that I’m pregnant she will think it’s yours. She’ll kill you.”
He shrugged. “Maybe not. My mom loves you. She loves me, too. The real kind, not that fake crap your parents tried to push off to their friends to look like great parents.”
Bri was silent for a few minutes as so many thoughts flooded her mind that she found herself not thinking about anything at all. Her pain was back tenfold and she knew it was partly because she’d lost concentration on it with the news and partly because she’d been sitting a long while and now her body was tense with stress. Not to mention the meds had more than likely worn off.
“I need to sleep. I can’t handle this right now. My body is starting to hurt again and my head feels like it’s going to explode.”
Matt reached for the call light and pushed it. “She’s in a lot of pain. Is it time for her to have meds yet?” he asked when they answered.
“Of course, we will be right in,” she answered.
“I’ll leave so you can get some rest,” Matt said, gently stroking the back of her hand.
“No – please. I hate to ask, but I just can’t bear being alone right now.”
He gave a soft smile and nodded, pulling the padded chair next to her bed closer. Matt sat down next to her and held her hand. He leaned over to kiss the sensitive back, just along her knuckles. “I’m not going anywhere, babe.”

When Tidal Waves Call (The Lost Immortals Sage, #3) by KaSonndra Leigh

Title: When Tidal Waves Call (The Lost Immortals Sage, Book Three)
Author: KaSonndra Leigh 
Genre: Dystopian Fantasy w/Strong Romantic Elements

 

Expected Release Date: June 2014

Book Description:The utopian society that Chela Prizeon once lived in is corrupted—divided by fear of an ancient prophecy and scarred by past betrayals between the humans and exiled celestials. So when given a chance to explore the world on the other side of the Borderlands, Chela seizes it, gaining an unlikely ally in the process. Perhaps beyond the veil, she and Faris will find a way to save his land, the sleeping world, and begin a new life, free from lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 
But Chela fights a darkness growing stronger each time she uses her power. She also finds herself falling under the alluring spell of someone she once considered her greatest enemy. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths will change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Chela must struggle to understand the complexities of herforbidden world—and of herself—while facing significant choices about loyalty, sacrifice, honor and love. 
Told from engaging multiple point-of-views, When Tidal Waves Call, by #1 Internationally best-selling author KaSonndra Leigh, brings the Lost Immortals Saga to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian-fantasy world that has captivated readers in When Copper Suns Fall and When Silver Moons Rise.

KaSonndra Leigh was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. She now lives in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, North Carolina. She likes to write about people of all ages doing fantastical things in magical worlds. She considers her two sons (aka the X-Men) the most authoritative editors around.
She loves to play CLUE, Monopoly (the Indiana Jones version), and Pandora’s Box (good writer’s block therapy). She lives in an L-shaped house with a garden dedicated to her grandmother. It has a secret library complete with fairies, Venetian plastered walls, and a desk made out of clear blue glass.


Author Links:
Join thousands of Lost Immortals Saga Fans on the Facebook FanPage: https://www.facebook.com/KaSonndraLeighBooks
Author Website: www.kasonndraleigh.com
Newsletter Signup:  The Seraphine News
Book Review Blog: The Seraphine Muse

Fighting For Love by LP Dover Cover Reveal Hosted by Lady Amber’s Tours

Title: Fighting For Love
Author: LP Dover    

Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense

Release Date: March 9th, 2014
Reveal Host: Lady Amber’s Tours

Synopsis:
Fighting for someone’s heart is more challenging than fighting for a title.
For a time, many years ago, love had grown, love was made, and in the end … love was lost. The decision to leave had been the worst mistake Shelby Dawson could have ever made. However, at the time—ten years ago—she felt her secret needed to stay hidden, even if it broke her heart and the heart of the man she loved. Back then, he was all hers and she was all his, but now things have changed and he isn’t the same guy she knew.
He happens to be the well-known MMA Heavyweight champion and famous bad boy, Matt ‘The Destroyer’ Reynolds, who once before struggled to help his family pay the bills. Now, he has money flowing with each undefeated win and an insurmountable number of women filling his bed. Everything is perfect for the illustrious fighter, until one day it all changes. In walks the girl from his past, the same girl who promised to stick by him but left and never looked back.
Their second chance to make things right will not come easy, for when one mistake is made an unwelcome consequence soon follows. Someone out there wants to rip them apart and they won’t stop until Matt and Shelby pay the ultimate price … their love.

USA Today Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is a southern belle residing in North Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, white water rafting, and you can’t forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols.
Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written over nine novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.
L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Lady Amber’s Tours~Cover Reveal~Radicals (Blood & Fire, 2)~Frankie Rose

Title: Radicals (Blood & Fire, 2)

 

Author: Frankie Rose
Genre: YA Dystopian
Expected Release Date: May 5, 2014
Blurb: 

A life of fire

A life of blood
A life of sacrifice
When Kit ran from the Sanctuary, she left behind the ghosts of all those she killed. However, unlike the dead, the living she left behind aren’t so easily escaped. Her father and his men are searching for her, and they won’t stop until they find her.
Reunited with old friends, Ryka and Kit must put their trust in the man who killed Ryka’s father if they are to survive.
But can they learn to trust him when their instincts tell them not to?
And can they overcome the revelations the Sanctuary is yet to throw at them?
 A life of fire
A life of blood
A life of sacrifice
When Kit ran from the Sanctuary, she left behind the ghosts of all those she killed. However, unlike the dead, the living she left behind aren’t so easily escaped. Her father and his men are searching for her, and they won’t stop until they find her.
Reunited with old friends, Ryka and Kit must put their trust in the man who killed Ryka’s father if they are to survive.
But can they learn to trust him when their instincts tell them not to?
And can they overcome the revelations the Sanctuary is yet to throw at them?
Frankie Rose was born in Truro, Cornwall, but grew up in the north west of England. Now living in Australia with her wonderful husband, Frankie spends her time writing novels and scripts.
Among her guilty pleasures, she loves singing way too loud in the car with the windows down, dancing when she thinks no one is looking, and talking about herself in the third person. She really does like that.
Links:

@byfrankierose (twitter)

Lady Amber’s Tours~Jen Wylie’s Tales of Ever~Book Review and Promo

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Review

Fans of Suzanne Collin’s series, Hunger Games, or J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter will thoroughly enjoy Jen Wylie’s, Tales of Ever. Tales of Ever is a constant death thrilling adventure until the very end, AND there is a freaking love interest in the mix, which made reading it more kick @ss.

In a place where nothing is as it seems, sixteen year old, Misha is propelled into a world where survival is the only way to live.

Misha learned to deal with the loss of her father at a young age, and when tragedy comes around again by the death of her mother, she is left as a ward of the state…until an unknown relative discovers her. The story really picks up here when Misha’s long lost uncle takes her to the safety of her new home.

Of course, safe is relative and her uncle learns why Misha and her mom were hidden for so long. Misha is told that her father is in alive…but in a different world? Since she was born with the full power to wield fire like her parents, Misha is labeled as wild, unstable. So, with a quick, forceful push through a portal into another world, Misha finds herself in Ever. Shit just got real.

Falling into a near deathtrap, Misha discovers plants, creatures, the sky and other means of ‘normal’ have transformed into a living nightmare. Giant, poisonous spiders, killer ducks, dragons and more fill the pages with constant worry. However, she’s determined to find her dad…and stay alive.

Soon enough, Jadus, a human-ish (swoon worthy) guy swoops in, saving Misha before certain death (of course!).

Still, hell has no ending while in Ever and the adventure only grows more troublesome.

Hunky Jadus and Misha are separated, forcing Misha to find her way to safety alone and also to search for her dad without Jadus’s capabilities to exist, survive in Ever. Crap, I just wanna tell you all what happens, but I can’t. That wouldn’t be fun, right? The story takes off from page one and before you know it, you’re finished with the entire book. I’d love to read more about Ever and by that I really mean—read more about Misha and Jadus! I really heart him, or whatever he is. Great job, Jen! Continue scrolling down to read special excerpts and find out how to stalk, I mean follow, this fabulous author 😉

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Tales of Ever

(Volumes 1-6)

By

Jen Wylie

January 10, 2014 by Untold Press www.untoldpress.com

Fantasy/Paranormal, YA 10+

(84 000+ words, 250pages)

~Tales of Ever is suitable for readers 10 and up. Originally written as a novella series, it has been reworked and is now available as a complete novel~

Blurb 

A few months ago, I was a normal girl. Life sucked, and just like everyone else, I took the simple things for granted. At least until I got this new power, a “gift” mom called it. Apparently, I’m a firestarter. I didn’t want to be. I didn’t ask to be. It would be cool if it wasn’t so dangerous and I knew how to control it. When an uncle I’d never heard of showed up to take care of me after my mom died, I should have been grateful. As it turned out, my whole family isn’t normal and more than a little bit crazy. I thought things couldn’t get any worse. I was wrong.

They banished me to Ever.

* * * * *

Welcome to Ever.

Ever; a deadly realm where feared, powerful, and dangerous magical beings are banished. It’s not a world, but a magically created prison you can never break out of. Who, or what, made Ever? I’ve no idea. They were powerful, and cruel. That is all I can tell you.

Ever is like, and unlike, every other world. Nothing is safe. Safety is a dream. Ever is a nightmare. Few survive their first day. Nothing is what it seems. If something appears safe, it isn’t. If something appears dangerous, well it is, but probably more than you think.

Ever has no sun, no moon, and no stars at night. Time is told by the ever changing color of the sky where portals open, dropping new inhabitants or new terrors. Time does pass. Don’t worry, you won’t get old. You won’t live that long.

The landscape changes without reason from desert to jungle. The flora isn’t safe at any time. There is food, if you can find it without getting eaten yourself. Most plants and animals are poisonous. So is the water.

Are you afraid? You should be. This is the end. It gets worse of course. Remember the portals? Do you think angels come through? Innocent people rarely do. Mostly, it is evil people, people too powerful to kill. Their magic works here. The creatures are worse.

Do you understand? Well, you will eventually, or you’ll die. There is no escaping Ever.

Ever.

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ASIN: B00HSCHK3I

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20498455-tales-of-ever

~Available at all Amazon stores~

US: http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Ever-Volumes-1-6-Wylie-ebook/dp/B00HSCHK3I/

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HSCHK3I

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Bio:

Jen Wylie resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her  two boys, Australian shepherd and a disagreeable amount of wildlife. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.

Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.

Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories.

My website: www.jenwylie.com

My blog: http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @jen_wylie

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4499919.Jen_Wylie

Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wylie/151266004895266

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jen-Wylie/e/B004HQ9XD8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

~Excerpt 1~

Fire.

I see it everywhere.

It started a year ago, maybe more. I don’t remember. Images of fire appear more now than they did before.

Flames always dance just out of sight. They flicker on school lockers, in windows, anywhere. Everywhere.

Now they hover over the road as I run. If I didn’t know better, I’d think they were only mirages from the heat. They aren’t real. They never are. Nothing burns, there is no heat. I hate seeing them. Every time they appear, I wonder if I’m crazy.

Glaring at my watch, I round the block. School sucked today, as usual. I’ve run farther and faster than I normally do, trying to push all my stupid problems away while trying to ignore the fire.

The last year I’ve been unsettled. Sometimes I get uncomfortable hot flashes. I don’t understand why. Mom gets them sometimes, too. She says not to worry about it. I wish I could, but I know I’m too young for such things and they have been coming more often.

I can’t tell her about seeing the fire, or about the dreams. She wouldn’t believe me and I don’t want to put more stress on her.

We do Yoga and that helps. So does running. I’ve done a lot of both as the months pass and things only get worse.

It hasn’t been the best year. Mom lost one of her jobs. She found another, but it doesn’t pay as much. Lack of money really stresses her out.

I hope she’ll let me get a decent job soon. Something other than yard work and babysitting. I want to help. Mom looks so tired lately. She’s really starting to worry me.

In a few months, I’ll be sixteen. I haven’t asked about getting my driver’s license. I’m sure Mom won’t bring it up either. We don’t have money for a car, anyway. We don’t even have money for lessons or the stupid license test.

What would I do if something happened to Mom?

I have no idea. We don’t have any really close friends. A few people we sort of talk to, like our old neighbor, Mrs. Green. No family either, at least none that Mom ever talks about.

I don’t have any friends at school. Even though I go to a public school, most of the kids there have money. We don’t, and it shows. People can be so fickle. Of course, I don’t really try to make friends. I fall into the quiet and shy group. Years ago I gave up trying. Too many times I thought I’d found a friend and then got stabbed in the back.

Of course seeing fire sets me apart, too. The fear of someone finding out how weird I am forces me to keep my distance. I know normal people don’t see fire like I do, but some seem obsessed with it. I watch them play with matches and lighters outside at school and I only shake my head.

I’m not obsessed. What I see scares me. If I could, I’d choose to never see the flames again.

~Excerpt 2~

I squeeze my eyes together tightly, trying to bring the fire under control. I can do this, I can…

The fire roars around me. Not good.

I feel cool fingers on my face and my eyes snap open. Jadus stands right before me, his face set and intense.

Certainly he knows how dangerous it is to touch me? No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t know…oh god…

“Think of water, rivers, ice, snow,” he whispers, staring into my eyes.

I do as he asks; terrified I’m going to kill him. Amazingly the fires die. Letting out a shuddering breath I squeeze my eyes closed again for a moment. “Sorry.”

He chuckles. “Powerful gift you have there.”

“Dangerous.”

He shrugs. “You’ll figure it out.”

“I hope so,” I mutter, looking around the large charred area surrounding us in a little bit of horror and a little bit of awe.

He gives me a moment to silently collect myself before gesturing for me to follow him. “Come on, I want to show you something.”

We head up the path, higher and higher. Finally reaching the top, he leads me over to the edge. My eyes grow wide as I stare out at the landscape before me. I can see the pink desert in the distance. The rainbow jungle spreads out in a line below. I can see a huge river too, and beyond it another kind of forest. The more I look the more I see.

“That’s a whole lot of Ever.”

Jadus points off to our right and I see a portal open high in the sky. That can’t be good.

Turned out height doesn’t matter. Not this time.

Something huge flies out.

My mouth drops open. Is that a dragon? The beast roars and flies off as the portal closes.

Jadus looks over at me and chuckles at the look on my face. He spreads his arms wide. “Welcome to Ever.”

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