Wednesday, March 4, 2015

After the Fire by Felice Stevens

Title: After the Fire
Author: Felice Stevens
Series: Through Hell and Back #2
Genre: Adult, Gay Romance
Release Date: February 24, 2015
A single bullet destroyed the dreams of Dr. Jordan Peterson. With the man he loved dead, Jordan descends into an endless spiral of pain that nearly costs him his friends, his career and his life. When Jordan meets the aloof Lucas Conover, the investment banker’s mysterious past and unexpected kindness shocks Jordan back to a life he thought was lost forever.

Betrayal and abandonment by the foster brother he’d worshiped as a child taught Lucas Conover never to trust or believe in anyone. Living a solitary life did little to free him of the nightmare of his past; it reinforces his belief he wasn’t meant to fall in love. Working closely with Dr. Jordan Peterson forces him to meet another person whose suffering equals his own and Lucas can’t shake the unexpected the first man to ever get under his skin.

Mutual respect and rising desire bring Jordan and Luke closer than they ever imagined, and each man must come to terms with their past as they struggle to create a future together. And learning to trust in themselves and love again after tragedy and a lifetime of pain, may be the only thing that saves them in the end.

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to leave Ash and Drew behind enough to get into Jordan and Luke's story.  Was I wrong!  Very few authors can pull off heartbreaking and inspiring in the same book, but this one has.  Felice Stevens is quickly becoming one of only a few authors that I instantly "1-click" without even reading the blurb.  Even though After the Fire centers on a different couple, I really feel that you need to read A Walk Through Fire first.  There's something that happens in Walk that sets up After, so I don't feel it would flow very good if you try to read this one first. Some might call it "angsty", personally I don't see it as such, it's just drama in my mind, but whatever term you use it's very powerful on the heart and a definite addition to your TBR list.


“Damn, you look like shit.” Ash’s sharp gaze raked him up and down. “Ow.” He rubbed his arm when Drew elbowed him. “Don’t get mad at me, baby. You know he does. Look at him.”

“Can we come in, Jordy?” Drew’s kind smile strangely made him feel worse, not better.

He said nothing and pulled the front door wider for his friends, leaving them to trail behind him back through the house and into the spacious kitchen. Sunlight poured onto the terra-cotta floors and glinted off the glass-fronted maple cabinets. The kitchen was his pride and joy, and when he and Keith bought the brownstone, it had been the only room he cared about decorating. Jordan had always loved staring out of the large bay window as he relaxed with his cup of coffee in the morning.

“Did you have a party?” Drew tipped his head to the table, still cluttered with vodka bottles.

“Party of one, more likely.”

Jordan heard Ash’s muttered remark, and despite a throbbing head and a roiling stomach, he lashed out.

“Shut up, Davis.” He and Ash had never had the easiest of relationships, and even though Jordan knew how happy Drew was, the man still irritated the hell out of him.

“Why, Jordan? The truth hurts?” Ash’s voice, oddly enough, neither condemned nor derided him. Instead, it held an overall note of sadness, mixed with empathy that pulled Jordan up short. “You sit here, night after night, refusing our dinner invitations, as well as any social contact with Rachel, Mike, or even Esther. Don’t think we don’t know what you’re doing and why.”

Jordan winced. Shit. A kindhearted, sympathetic Ash Davis was almost worse than the usual sarcastic attitude he dished out to everyone. “I’m not in the mood for company; that’s all.”

“And I call bullshit on that. You’re still mourning Keith, and I get that, but that doesn’t mean you don’t go on living. When your only company since he died has been vodka or whiskey, you’re heading for disaster.”

“Jordy.” Drew slung an arm around his shoulder. “I’m worried about you. You’ve lost weight, skipped days at the hospital, and I was told that during surgery last week—”

“Are you checking up on me?” He pulled away from Drew, shaking with anger. “What the fuck, man? You’re not my goddamn keeper.” Humiliation, shame, and a sense of despair tore through him as he turned away from his two friends to go back and sit at the kitchen table. He ran his hands over the battered wood of the long farmhouse table. He remembered how happy he and Keith had been to find it in the small Pennsylvania town they’d stumbled upon oneSaturday. Making love on top of it after lugging it up the stairs of the brownstone was a memory etched forever in his mind. He gripped the edge of the table to steady himself.

A few deep breaths settled him, yet he couldn’t face his friends.

For over thirty years he and Drew had been friends; the man knew him better than anyone else. People might think Drew Klein was sweet and easygoing, but Jordan knew the core of steel within his friend. Drew refused to back down if he thought he could help. True to form, Drew dropped into the chair right next to him, challenging and direct.

“Jordan. Look at me.”

It took an effort to tear his gaze away from the tabletop, but he inhaled a deep breath and smiled into Drew’s face. “What is it?”

Drew seemed taken aback that Jordan was smiling and not lashing out with his usual anger. “I’m not checking up on you. It’s common knowledge that you showed up to your first surgery since Keith died and had to wait an extra hour to start because you had the shakes.” Drew’s mouth thinned to a hard line. “Are you crazy showing up drunk for surgery? You could lose your fucking license, for God’s sake.”

“I wasn’t drunk. I was overtired and hadn’t eaten since lunchtime the day before.”

Behind him he heard Ash snort with laughter. “Are you fucking kidding me, Jordan? You can come up with a better one than that.”

“Fuck off, Ash,” he shot back. “I couldn’t care less about your opinion.”

“Do you care about mine, Jordy? Don’t lie to me.” Drew’s stare remained unflinching, his eyes soft and knowing. “I know you’re still having a hard time moving on from Keith’s death, but it’s going to be a year soon.”

“It’s only been nine months. God almighty, did you expect me to forget him already?” Horrified, Jordan swept his hand across the table, sending the empty bottles and food containers crashing to the floor. “Could you forget Ash so quickly? Keith and I were together for almost four years. Stop pressuring me to move on with my life. It’s over for me. There will never be anyone else.”

A Walk Thru Fire #1
Years after running away from an abusive foster family, Asher Davis still inwardly struggles with the guilt of leaving his foster brothers behind. He’s climbed to unimaginable heights as a ruthless, high-powered attorney, creating a life of power and control. He takes whatever and whoever he wants.

Blaming himself for the death of his parents, Dr. Drew Klein retreats into a shell of loneliness, merely going through the motions of life.  After a disastrous, short-lived marriage, Drew decides to leave his lucrative medical practice to set up a clinic for abused young men and women. The decision has more repercussions than Drew could ever imagine when the dark and sensual Ash Davis volunteers to help.

Although Drew isn’t gay, Ash is inexplicably drawn to him. He vows to simply bed him and forget him like he's done with every other man.  However, Drew's sweet and caring nature and unexpected passion stun and frighten Ash, who questions his right to any happiness at all.  And when Ash befriends an abused young man who unwittingly draws the clinic into danger, threatening Drew’s safety and that of his beloved grandmother, Ash discovers that there is nothing he won’t sacrifice to protect the love he never thought he’d find.

Author Bio:
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.

But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.


After the Fire #2

A Walk through Fire #1

Brought to you by:

Greater Expectations by Alexander McCabe

Title: Greater Expectations
Author: Alexander McCabe
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Length: 257 pages / approx. 90,000 words
Cover Artist: Kirsty C. Maclauchlan
It is said that the course of true love never runs smooth - even for us men. Yet it has never been easier to find love than in this modern digital era where the mighty computer has all but rendered Cupid redundant. Love is now to be found, quite literally, at your fingertips. Although love also seems to have changed with the times. This new love is deceitful and manipulative, cunning and untrustworthy. Love has gotten ugly. Thankfully, not all the answers to life’s mysteries are to be found in the computer and Cupid - battered and bruised as he may be - proves that he still has some game and a few tricks up his sleeve…

     When first I met my now estranged wife during our Master’s year at university, I was seeing someone else too. In the main, this defines me as a “bastard”, although I preferred to think of myself as a “player”. Indeed I would argue that it falls under the guise of “sowing wild oats”. That’s the phrase that makes the practice somehow acceptable, and mothers the world over tell their sons that this is what they need to do before they settle down. The rite of passage into manhood as it were. At least, it’s what my mother told me. Women may argue this point - sorry, women will argue this point - but then they become mothers.
     Naturally, they just don’t want those “wild oats” sown with their own daughters.
     However, it is a fallacy to think that we men are completely heartless. I realised that I actually liked the girl that I eventually married so quickly ended all contact with the third party. In actual fact, she was a girl that I had been seeing first but only by a matter of a few weeks. I got the usual tirade of “bastard” texts, emails, and drunken voicemails. “I thought you were different” being the obligatory phrase that she just had to use during every one of these “opportunities”. In one particular instance, during which she also branded me a “coward”, I foolishly responded. I explained to her that I was merely being cruel to be kind as it was blatantly obvious to me that there we had no future together. Furthermore, after everything that had been said and done – more on her part now than mine - she would surely realise and accept that there was no going back as any trust and respect that had been built was now completely shattered.
     I got the following reply:
“See, I knew you were different. That was lovely, you thinking of me and my feelings and us and our future. Why can’t we make this work? We can, you just have to trust yourself to trust me. Call me.”
     It took another six weeks of ignoring and blocking her before she finally gave up. We had only been dating, if it could ever have been called that, for three weeks.
     It takes true courage and bravery to finish any relationship. As my marital separation was only a week old, I understood that there may be some element of hope that we could fix it and move on. Yet I knew there was no way I could, or would, allow myself to stoop to such a level of indignity. My sense of pride has taken a pounding and is undoubtedly battered and bruised, but it is still there, standing tall and intact, however weakly. It is also getting stronger with every passing day.
     All thanks to “Hope”.
     “Hope” is a very strange feeling that displaces others such as “confidence”, “faith”, and “trust” and one that I have naturally gravitated towards my entire life. We are old friends, hope and I. Never have I dared to have “confidence” in my academic or sporting abilities, rather I always “hoped” that I would perform at my best as necessitated in any particular circumstance. When things had gone better than I had even dared “hope”, then I defaulted to the notion that is was merely my “good luck”, and vice versa. “Luck” has always provided me an excuse for all of life’s highs and lows and everything in between. Now I wanted to change all that. Now I wanted to control my existence.
     Now I wanted to stir the stagnant pool that is my life proactively to feel like I am living again.
     So that may well explain why I am now sat in only my boxer shorts in front of my computer, as the rain batters the window behind my curtains, and trying to focus on completing an online dating profile that includes a “personal statement” section. Apparently, its purpose is to allow me to describe myself in as broadly generic terms as possible in order to seem “normal” and “average” - and so maximising my appeal - whilst also trying to ensure that I am unique enough as to stand out. The logic of the concept is irrefutable and yet fantastically ridiculous.
     It is also proving so challenging to the point of being quite impossible.
     As a truck driver, I work most weekends and so this job commitment removes the more conventional ways of meeting women. Using a dating site makes far more sense in this new age of technology as it allows for an immediate connection without the need to wait for the weekend, or the demand of a decent chat up line. It cuts to the chase, so to speak. The site has posted a statistic that states over 28% of couples now “meet” online, so I am still happily in the minority. However, it is utterly galling to me that I should ever try to be “normal” or “average” to anyone as I have never considered myself as such.
     It seems to me to be morally fraudulent.
     Online dating. It really is quite an absurd concept yet totally in concert with the modern era where people are too busy with work and life to take the time and make the effort for actually dating. Yet where is the romance of it? You will never hear a love song that refers to such sites. Can you imagine Rod Stewart singing “The Algorithm of my Heart”, or some such like?
     No? Me neither.

     “So, from your understanding of the upper class stereotype, do you think we love in the same way that everyone else loves?” The laugh had gone and the fire was once again the object of her attention.      Stupidly, it made me somewhat envious. It was obvious that she wanted to look anywhere else but at me and she suddenly seemed quite nervous and vulnerable. That look. What was it? So rarely had I seen this look before. She looked…forlorn? Yes, that was it. She looked forlorn. 
     It didn’t suit her.
     “I’m afraid that I am the very last person to be able to speak of love with any kind of authority. I’m sorry.” Here was I taking to a stranger and yet, somehow, it felt instinctively right to be completely honest. She drew her eyes away from the fire and let them rest upon my chest. If I didn’t know better, I would have said she was looking for my heart. 
     “How so?” her voice nothing more than a whisper.
     My life with Gem, told as an anecdote, came tumbling out. As Penny sat in silence, I soon became oblivious to her presence and spoke more to myself than to her. As my sorry tale came to a close, I apologetically explained about reading the email “it was wrong and I know I shouldn’t have done it, but…” and then proceeded to explain the crux of its contents whilst omitting the gory details, she could garner them for herself “…and so here I am, mending my broken heart with Richie.” 
     Many a true word said in jest as they say.
     It was a few moments before she spoke. Not that I really noticed nor cared for, in my head, I was back staring at the computer monitor and reading that email for the first time - once again. 
     “So do you still believe in love?” Her question penetrated my thoughts although it took me a second to realise where I was. 
     “I was taught to believe in love, my mum is a bit of a romantic. My dad too, if truth be told although he would never readily admit to it. I thought I was in love but seeing now how easily I have walked away from it makes me realise that I truly wasn’t. It is all but impossible for me to determine whether it was the idea of love that I loved or if it was the person providing this possibility; that ‘someone to love’ as it were. It really is a rather complicated notion and one that generates more questions than answers for me.” The depth of my own answer had surprised me and I took a few seconds to consider what I had said. 
     “Actually, on reflection, forget all that. Yes, I believe in love but only in the way as described to me by my mother.” 
     “Which was?” Her sincerity was almost palpable as she shifted in her seat and crossed her legs underneath herself. Only now did I notice how big these chairs were, or maybe it is how small she is, it was certainly one or the other. Her glass had been abandoned on the table and she rested her head in her hands, supported by her elbows on her knees. It really was quite remarkable how completely at home she was in these stifling surroundings. She seduced me into believing that we were old friends simply discussing life; thus providing a comfort and confidence to speak my heart and mind without fear of judgment or ridicule. 
     It was a beautiful feeling.
     “Love is when you can look into the eyes of another person and only see the reflection of your own soul. I rather like that idea and believe that it will happen for me one day.” In saying this, one of the unruly crowd hanging behind her caught my attention.
     “It sounds like you believe in fate. I didn’t think that a man like you would.” She struck me as genuinely surprised. 
     “Another stereotype perhaps?” I said teasingly, my eyes too slow to catch hers as she looked back into the fire. The moment gone, I continued “I certainly do believe in fate, and why not? If I didn’t, why else would we be having this drink? I had never even heard of this estate until last week and now here I am enjoying myself with, quite literally, the Lady of the manor.” 
     “So you are enjoying yourself? Good. Me too.” As Penny said this, she settled back into her chair and placed her hands, one over the other, in her lap. She still sat on her legs. It amazes me how she manages to make even this pose seem so effortless yet graceful. I have no idea how she does that. 
     “So what is next for you, love-wise?”
     “Who knows?” Rather than feeling bitter and consumed with hurt and regret, I just feel relieved. Obviously she is intent on using her career to climb the social ladder and that doesn’t really interest me, being honest. I have always been more interested in being ‘content’ rather than ‘happy’. ‘Happiness’ seems to be such a fleeting emotion, whereas ‘contentment’ has a more enduring appeal.” Penny was nodding in agreement at my distinction between these two ideals. “It seems that I had five months to get used to being single but only now it’s official. To be totally honest, I am thinking to join a dating site and see what happens. I am not averse to the idea of giving fate a hand, you know? Although I have absolutely no idea why I am telling you that.” I really didn’t and laughed in embarrassment at the absurdity of my need to admit this to her - a complete stranger. 

Top 10 – Places to meet new people
1. public transport
2. work
3. shopping
4. weddings
5. funerals
6. through friends / family
7. shopping
8. internet - social media
9. internet - dating sites
10. at the gym

Author Bio:
After graduating with a couple of useless degrees in law, I left my Scottish homeland and wandered nomadically around the globe to experience the rich diversity of culture that the world has to offer.

On my travels, I met my Canadian wife in New Zealand, we were married in Scotland and now live in Canada with our newborn son. Although we currently call Toronto home, this is not yet a permanent arrangement and, rather alarmingly, we are perfectly happy about that…


Brought to you by: 

Ice Stream by S Ann Cole

Title: Ice Stream
Author: S Ann Cole
Series: Loving All Wrong #4
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Two rockers. Two different bands. One girl.

I sent him off to be a star, to chase his dreams.
I placed mine on hold so he could have his.
He kissed me, made love to me, and promised he’d come back.

He lied…

The original plan was to show up and steal him back.
But in the process, I inadvertently fell hard for another rocker.
Now, I’m in deep with both of them.
I love one with my heart.
I love the other with my soul.

I’m selfish.
I’m greedy.
I want to keep them both.

They want me to choose.

How dare they. How dare they ask me to choose.
If I give my heart up, I’ll lose my soul.
If I give my soul up, I'll lose my heart.
Yet I’m terrified if I don’t make a decision, I’ll lose them both.

I’ll lose.

     The door was matte-black. A gold embossed 409 situated at eye-level. A “Do Not Disturb” door-hanger swayed ever so slightly from the handle.
     I could hear a familiar rhythm, stifled by carpets, curtains, bed sheets, wood and concrete, coming from the other side of the door. Massive Attack’s Angel.
     The same base, drumbeat, guitar strum, and soft voice I lost my virginity to.
     I pressed my forehead below the 409, pressed my palms flat against the matte-black wood, letting the muffled music seep through the wood and into my pores as the memories of that night floated around my head in lazy swirls, like spice-scented smoke from an illegal Cuban cigar.
     My heart ached. Then it smiled. Then it ached some more.
     The song ended then started all over again like it was set on repeat. I straightened up, curled my fingers into a hook, and made two gentle taps on the door. Possibly too gentle to be heard over the magical creation of Angel.
     The music volume dimmed, and a few seconds later the door soundlessly opened.
     Eyes of blue skies and cirrus clouds stared at me with evident conflict, as though he wasn’t quite sure whether he was glad I came, or wish I’d obeyed the capitalized ‘DON’T’ in his message.
     With a five o’ clock shadow on chiseled jaw, his sturdy physique was clad in a dark-gray sweater and denims, white socks, no shoes.
     Releasing the door handle, he took small steps backward into the room.
     I walked in, closed the door and leaned back against it.
     Black Doc Martens were kicked off haphazardly by the bedside, a chocolate-brown duffel bag vomiting clothes out onto the bed.
     His fiancĂ©e was under the impression that he was still in New York spending quality time with his sister.
     Instead he was here, in a hotel room, staring at me, keeping his distance like I was an apparition, fists clenched tight.
     I let my handbag fall to the floor, my hands left dangling at my sides like a puppet, letting the blood flow freely so I could think clearly.
     “I begged you not to come,” were his first words.
     “I’m not Jesus,” I replied, voice quiet, “I don’t answer prayers.”
     Pushing away from the door, I took a step towards him, but he stepped back. “What are we doing, Ally?”
     “Picking up where we left off.”

Author Bio:
S. Ann Cole is a passionate writer and reader, and a lover of anything that distracts her from the real world.  Reader first and second a writer, S. Ann Cole is an exaggerator, a laugher, sometimes overly chatty, sometimes overly shy. She’s afraid of cats, dogs, snakes—heck, she’s only tolerable to gold fishes in a tank. Because if they do jump out and try to attack her, the suckers will surely die…
She hates chocolate, schmaltz and arrogance.
She loves carbs, Chris Brown and humility.
She lives nowhere and everywhere.
Jokey people are her favorite people, as laughter is the way to her heart.
Never mind her foul-mouth (she’s working hard on changing that!), she loves GOD. Fiercely. And believes prayer is the essence of all good, great, wonderful and miraculous things, and the most powerful privilege given unto man.
Ann hopes that one day, the right day, when it’s her time (because nothing happens before its time), her hard work will be noticed and appreciated, and she’ll become a “NYT Bestselling Author”…
Uh-uh. Yeah. That’s what she said.
When Ann’s not abusing her computer keyboard, you can find her nosing a novel, watching anything on television that makes her laugh until she breaks into hiccups (loves Disney & TBS!) studying the Bible, or guzzling booze.


Brought to you by: 

The Designed by Kate Tailor

Title: The Designed
Author: Kate Tailor
Genre: New Adult, Science Fiction
Release Date: January 26, 2015
What if the next new drug was you? Raleigh’s body produces a drug that could define the future of medicine if the dangerous world surrounding it doesn’t kill her first.

Eighteen-year old Raleigh Groves can sense disease in others and is suffering from her own unexplained illness as well. After years and dozens of doctor visits, she has given up hope of ever finding a cure, let alone a diagnosis. Then she meets a man who explains that her talent and curse are linked. Her body produces a drug, Lucidin, which allows her to sense others. She’s rare, and the drug she makes is coveted.

Rho has spent the last few years on the run. The Lucidin that is racing through his system makes him a target. Surrounded by addicts and dealers on one side and scientists and doctors on the other, he has to rely on his wits and his team to stay one step ahead. So far he has stayed afloat, but some of his brothers haven’t been as lucky.

As Rho and Raleigh collide they must face the perilous world of Lucidin together. Nothing is black-and-white and Raleigh must decide where her alliances lie. Sometimes the hardest heart to sense is your own.

     Rho took a long breath and sighed with relief. Unlike most prisons, his had no bars or locked gates. The drugs and fatigue were enough to trap him in his own body—but not for much longer. He would make his escape today. His captors were unlikely to lower the extraction and sedative dose any more than they just had, so he had to make his move. He would do it tonight, when the second team came to check on him.
     Today was the first day in a long time that he was aware of each and every moment. He darted his eyes across the room. A small seagull was preening itself on the windowsill. One of the guards had once asked why there weren’t bars on the window. The answer was that the drop would likely kill Rho, and even if he survived the current would pull him under. Occasionally he’d heard people speaking in French, and he figured that he must be somewhere along the French coast.
     Knowing that he could die while making his escape, he savored the hours. Part of him wanted to reflect on his life, but he pushed those thoughts out of his mind as soon as they arose. Those thoughts too closely resembled grieving, and he wasn’t about to grieve the life that he was fighting to save….
     The sunset was particularly beautiful. Mauve and azure hues playfully painted his room, as though Mother Nature wasn’t aware of the suffering he endured. Maybe she was aware of his suffering—and glad to see it. After all, he was an affront to her.
     Rho heard voices as the evening pair opened the door to his room. Of all the teams, Rho was most familiar with this one. These two talked the most, and the young man had once taken a phone call in the room, but he was swiftly reprimanded by the old man. The young, unsure little attendant asked a lot of questions, and although the old man seemed to be aggravated by his companion’s inquires, he always answered.
     “The morning crew said he was doing poorly,” the old man said in a sure, deep voice.
     “They turned down the machine again. He’s not giving us as much Lucid,” noted the young man as he retrieved the vials.
     “From the look of his vitals, he’ll only last a few more days.”
     “He’s going to die, isn’t he?” asked the young man. Despite his current job, he wasn’t the heartless kind.
     “The world will be better off. He’s dangerous. They’re monsters…all of them. Don’t let his angelic looks fool you. He’s the devil.”
     Rho wasn’t sure if the last part was true, but the part about him being dangerous certainly was.

     Rho was just beginning to wake up. Without opening his eyes, his ears began to process his surroundings. All he heard was the whizzing of the extraction machine. His first thought was that they must have extraction machines in hell…and that seemed fitting. His next thought was that maybe he wasn’t dead. The pain when he moved even the tiniest bit was evidence enough that he still had his body. Suddenly, he felt a rush blast though his veins and his eyes popped open. It was his familiar friend Lucid—but it was edgier and wilder than his own.
     Looking down at his arm, he saw that there was only one tube extending from the machine into his port. With the bold Lucid beating through him, he figured that, for once, he was on the receiving end of the greedy machine. There was another set of piping going to and from the machine, and the tubes were connected to a port in someone else’s arm. Rho felt a wave of excitement. He figured that it must be one of his brothers in the bed next to him—no one else made anywhere near enough Lucid to save him.
     When he opened his mouth to speak it was dry and tasted like the seawater he‘d swallowed by the mouthful. Then, paranoia washed over him and he stopped. What if he woke up whoever had him? Just because they were saving him didn’t mean that they didn’t intend to use him. Maybe they’d captured one of his brothers and were just bringing him back so they could harvest more Lucid from both of them.
     Rho sat up in bed and the room began to spin. He gradually slid his legs out from under the covers and planted his feet on the floor. His drawstring pants were shredded, but the room was comfortably warm. When he no longer felt quite so dizzy, he took a few deep breaths and quietly leveraged himself off the bed. He stumbled and fell onto the foot of the other bed, bumping whoever was lying there.
     There was a groan, and the hair on the back of his neck bristled. It was a female voice. The girl rolled over onto her back, mumbling ever so slightly. For a moment, Rho considered going back to his own bed, but he wondered if they were both trapped and if she was being forced to save him.
     Careful not to bump her a second time, he inched his way up the bed. As far as he knew, he had no sisters. He peered down at her face. There were freckles across the bridge of her nose—she was somebody’s daughter.
     “Wake up,” he said quietly, shaking her shoulders. It was harder than he guessed it would be. He repeated himself in French, just in case he was still in France.
     Raleigh’s eyes felt heavy, and her body started to shake as she began to wake up.
     “No more extraction,” she whispered, opening her eyes. She almost screamed when she saw Rho above her.
     “Don’t yell,” he said, pressing his fingers softly against her lips. “I’m Rho. I’ll stop the extraction.” He pulled the tubes from her port and asked, “Are you all right?”
     “You’re alive.”
     “They could’ve killed you,” said Rho, furious that his last act on Earth may’ve been taking this girl’s life.

How I write my characters:
When I start a book I’m never positive how a character will turn out. I write them in different scenarios to get a feel for their voice and how they behave. Some characters that have started out sweet end up with a little bit of a dark side. I try to make my characters dimensional. I don’t like reading stories where people fit into too neat of boxes. I like to think that my characters surprise the reader at times while still staying true to themselves.

The best and worse part about being a writer:
I think the absolute best part about being a writer is the chance to put a story to paper. You start with nothing and in the end you have a world complete with people and events. A good story to me is one that is both entertaining and lets the reader develop their own opinions about the different topics presented. There are two things I find challenging about being a writer. The first is the distraction of having stories bouncing around my head. Sometimes I don’t have the right characters to tell my stories, or the proper scenarios to get my point across. It can be frustrating to work out these details. The second challenge is putting myself out there. It is a very humbling experience to have someone read what I’ve written. People get a peek into my thought process, and complete strangers get to experience something I’ve poured my heart into. That can be a very humbling and sometimes scary process.

My reading habits:
I enjoy reading, I’m sure most writers do. I’m one of those people that has trouble putting down a good book. I have a reading nook at my house. Usually it covered in a mess of children’s books. My kids love to be read too. Most of them are old, tattered things that I had when I was growing up. Some of them are missing pages, so I improvise. I hate letting go of books, and my basement is a testament to that. There are boxes of science books and pharmacology books from when I was in school, mysteries from my high school years, and sci-fiction, my current passion of late. Occasionally I reread one, and am not only swept into the world of the book, but to the time when I first read it.

Author Bio:
Kate Tailor lives in Boulder, Colorado. She has a background in molecular biology and pharmacology. Writing has been a passion of hers since she was young.

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