Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dangerous Spirits by Jordan L Hawk

Summary:
After the events of Reyhome Castle, Henry Strauss expected the Psychical Society to embrace his application of science to the study of hauntings. Instead, the society humiliates and blacklists him. His confidence shaken, he can’t bring himself to admit the truth to his lover, the handsome medium Vincent Night.

Vincent’s new life in Baltimore with Henry is disrupted when a friend from the past asks for help with a haunting. In the remote town of Devil’s Walk, old ties and new lies threaten to tear the lovers apart, if a fiery spirit bent on vengeance doesn’t put an end to them first.


WOW! Where do I begin?  I fell in love with Henry and Victor, as well as Jo and Lizzie in Restless Spirits and didn't think I could possibly care for them more, boy was I wrong!  In Dangerous Spirits we find highs and lows in the relationships, some because of Henry's early lie and others because of the arrival of Vincent & Lizzie's friend, Sylvester.  Watching Henry twisting inside because of his lie then add in the jealousy of Sylvester and my heart was torn between tears and screaming at Henry to come clean.  Don't even get me started on the creepy spirits they have to face. Well, Ms. Hawk as done it again putting her creative paranormal psyche to print.  If you like any one of history, paranormal, or romance then this is the one for you and if you are like me and love all three, let's just say you are in for the treat of your life!  As we close in on Halloween, or All Hallow's Eve, then this is definitely a must for your reading pleasure.

RATING: 



Restless Spirits #1
Summary:
After losing the family fortune to a fraudulent psychic, inventor Henry Strauss is determined to bring the otherworld under control through the application of science. All he needs is a genuine haunting to prove his Electro-SΓ©ance will work. A letter from wealthy industrialist Dominic Gladfield seems the answer to his prayers. Gladfield’s proposition: a contest pitting science against spiritualism, with a hefty prize for the winner.

The contest takes Henry to Reyhome Castle, the site of a series of brutal murders decades earlier. There he meets his rival for the prize, the dangerously appealing Vincent Night. Vincent is handsome, charming…and determined to get Henry into bed.

Henry can’t afford to fall for a spirit medium, let alone the competition. But nothing in the haunted mansion is quite as it seems, and soon winning the contest is the least of Henry’s concerns.

For the evil stalking the halls of Reyhome Castle wants to claim not just Henry and Vincent’s lives, but their very souls.


When you find yourself on the ground floor of a new series, it's a pretty great feeling.  To have it by an author you already love is pretty exciting.  But, to have it rival or at the very least a close second to said author's series that brought you to the author it's pretty darn amazing.  And that's what Restless Spirits have been for me.  It may not currently reach the level of giddiness I have for Miss Hawk's Whyborne & Griffith series, but Restless is well on it's way to being right up there and that's only after one book!  It hasn't even been a month since Henry and Vincent first debuted and already I'm longing for the next installment.  I love the way the author introduces us to both sides of the ghost detecting(to put it simply) business.  This story is filled with twists, sexy times, mystery, sexy times, ghosts, sexy times, okay maybe I'm over doing the sexy times but it's definitely very hot, very heart wrenching, funny at times, and of course paranormal suspense.

RATING: 

Author Bio:
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in the wilds of North Carolina, where she was raised on stories of haints and mountain magic by her bootlegging granny and single mother. After using a silver knife in the light of a full moon to summon her true love, she turned her talents to spinning tales. She weaves together couples who need to fall in love, then throws in some evil sorcerers and undead just to make sure they want it bad enough. In Jordan’s world, love might conquer all, but it just as easily could end up in the grave.


FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE  /  BLOG
ITUNES  /  AUTOGRAPH  /  CAFE PRESS  /  ARe
SMASHWORDS  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS
EMAIL: jordanlhawk@gmail.com



Dangerous Spirits #2
AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N
KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe  /  SMASHWORDS

Restless Spirits #1
AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N
KOBO  /  ITUNES  /  ARe  /  SMASHWORDS

Release Day Blitz: Picture Imperfect by Jelsa Mepsey

Title: Picture Imperfect
Author: Jelsa Mepsey
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Max Prescott knows all too well the joys of cheating girlfriends and traitorous friends. He’s not eager to have his heart trampled again, but money and a fresh start can mean the difference between happiness and a dark path with his name on it.

So when Melly Hewson, a perky and enigmatic classmate, asks him to be her model for a year-long photography project, Max agrees. Melly Hewson is everything Max isn’t. She’s outgoing, witty and always knows the right words to say. And despite his best efforts, Max finds himself drawn to her.

Still, he isn’t stupid. He knows a girl like Melly will only use him and then never speak to him again. Besides, he’s been to that rodeo. As long as he keeps his feelings off the market, he won’t make the same mistakes as last time.

Yet underneath Melly’s sweet smiles lies a secret she’d rather kept hidden. And as the year goes on and the photos pile up, Max and Melly will find themselves developing through the negatives, a story that when told could push them to opposite ends of their world. But the only thing worst than the truth is, the facade that surrounds them.


Chapter 1 
     I prop myself up on my elbows and peer into the toilet bowl. Bloodshot brown eyes glare back at me between chunks of floating vomit, light glinting off the metal toilet seat. Bile runs down my chin, stuck in my stubble. When I reach for the toilet paper roll, I find it empty. I wipe my face on my crusty sleeve. Flies guard the toilet, flanked by a million tiny ants. So much for using the park bathroom to puke and take a piss. I don’t need anything on my dick or up my ass.
     Last night’s chunky dinner rises up my sore throat. The chunks stick, choking me. I cough and cough, but only greasy spit dribbles out. I grip the empty toilet paper holder for support, accidentally yanking it out of the wall. When I uncurl my fingers, it drops into the toilet, splashing water onto my shirt. I stagger into the sink and twist the rusty faucet. Nothing comes out. Of course. A place to shit would be a shitty place.
     The pressure in my bladder increases. Flies buzz around the toilet. Screw them. I unzip, only for them to fly closer. Little fuckers! I zip back up and shove the door open, stumbling into some bushes. I unzip again and piss on them. Once I finish, I zip my pants up, my teeth chattering. Goosebumps pop up on my skin, and I rub my arms.
     Click! A flash blinds me, and I shield my eyes. Someone’s walking closer to me. After heavy blinking,      I’m able to see the culprit’s wide gray eyes. Brown-haired ponytail swishing and lips twitching in amusement, she pockets her bright orange digital camera. I don’t know her. Why is she taking a picture of me?
     “What was that?” I step out from behind the bush.
     The girl blinks twice. “I was getting blackmail.”
     Blackmail? She doesn’t even know me! “Delete that. Now!” My stomach riots, my vision still blinded from the flash. Who takes pictures of random strangers? Who takes pictures of random strangers peeing?
     The girl ignores me and hops in place, her smile so wide it should fall off her face. “This is perfect!”
     “I told you to delete it!” I reach out and try to snatch the camera from her, but she lowers her arm at the last second. My arm drops as she finally looks up.
     “Calm down, Max.” She smiles and pockets her camera in her coat. “What’s up?”
     Did she just say my name? “Do I know you?”
     She frowns. “Yeah. We’re in the same chemistry class.”
     Chemistry. Cassy’s in my chemistry class. I’d nudge her with my knee under the table while the teacher droned on. But I can’t do that anymore. She belongs to him now. Asshole girlfriend stealer.
     The girl’s stare is still on me.
     “I’m Melly.” She holds her hand out. I don’t shake it. She lowers her hand, continuing to stare. This is really awkward. A quick glance is normal. Staring is just creepy.
     I narrow my eyes. “Do you need something from me?”
     “Actually, yes.” She grins, revealing braces. What’s a high school sophomore doing still wearing those? Braces are so middle school. “I need you to be my photo model for the next three hundred and sixty-five days. Well, three hundred and sixty-four now, since I’ve already taken a picture of you today.”
     I stare back at her. When the smile doesn’t fall from her face, I laugh, breaking the silence. “Model? For you? For an entire year?”
     “I’m serious!” She looks at the ground. “Your hair is really awesome, since you change it so much. That’s why I’d like to photograph you.”
     My hair definitely isn’t “awesome” today. It’s still oily because I didn’t take a shower this morning and the wind’s blowing it everywhere. Sometimes, girls pet my hair after I changed it even though it pissed Cassy off.
     Is that why Cassy broke up with me? Or is it just because Jaxon is so much better for her?
     She looks up. I shake my head. “No.”
     “Aw, come on.” She frowns. “It’s not like you have to do a lot of work.”
     “Maybe, maybe not. But we’re not friends.” I shrug. “I don’t see why I should do this for you.”
Melly rolls her eyes. “This is why I didn’t ask for permission before taking your picture. I expected this from you.”
     “Then why’d you take it anyway?” And how does she know so much about me?
     The smile never leaves her face. “Here’s the deal. I’ll pay you. That photo is for a scholarship. I have to photograph something that’ll change over the course of a year.”
     I scoff. “And you thought of me?”
     “Well, no.” She scratches her head. “I mean, I was wandering around the park trying to come up with some ideas, and then I saw you.” She exhales. “So … yeah! Come on, Max! Please? I’ll pay you! Even if      I don’t win, it’ll be a fun project.”
     “Fun?” I groan. “Maybe for you.”
     She steps a little closer. “Don’t you want to know how much I’ll pay you?”
     A little money never hurt. “Hmm. How much?”
     “A dollar a day.”
     I snort. “Two.”
     She grins. “Sure. So, you’ll do it?”
     Way to jump to conclusions. “I never agreed to anything.”
     “True.” She raises an eyebrow. “Still. Seven hundred and thirty dollars. Not bad, if you ask me.”
     “I guess not.” She must be hoping for a lot of money if she’s willing to pay me so much. “What do you get if you win the scholarship?”
     She scoffs. “Like you care. Focus on what you’re going to get. Seriously. It’s not bad.”
     “I guess it’s not.” Just one more thing. “What about the picture?”
     “Oh, right.” She adjusts the camera around her neck. “I won’t show it to anyone but the scholarship people.”
     “And if I say no?”
     “Then I guess your lovely ex-girlfriend Cassy Carlson would love to see it.”
     How does she know about me and Cassy already? “You can’t be serious.”
     “I am.” She folds her arms across her chest. “So? Will you do it?”
     If she puts it that way, I really don’t have a choice. Besides, money is nice. “This isn’t gonna take a lot of time, is it?”
     She shakes her head. “It shouldn’t. So, it’s a deal, right?”
     I hesitate; the frogs in my stomach seem to have died for now. My throat, however, continues torturing me. I cough. “Seven hundred thirty dollars?”
     She shrugs. “If you want. I think it’s worth it. I’d do it if I were you.”
     “Mm-hmm.” Should I? It’s not like I have anything better to do. But do I really want some chick taking pictures of me every day? I should tell her to get lost and suck a dick. That might knock the smile off her face. But if I take her up on it, I’ll have some money for a drum set.
     “Max?” She waves a hand in front of my face. “Yes or no?”
     This is gonna be a long year. “Fine. I’ll do it. But only because you’re paying me.” And Cassy doesn’t need to see a picture of me hung-over and pissing in bushes.
     Her forehead creases. “Are you sure? Don’t commit if you’re not going to cooperate.”
     “I said yes, okay?” Great. I’m already regretting this. “Just stop bothering me.”
     Melly grins as if she’s just been declared homecoming queen. “Awesome! Thanks, Max!”
     “Yeah, whatever.” I stand. The frogs resurrect their leaping contest, and I steady myself on a nearby bench. Cassy and I used to come here and make out a lot: a private world in a public place. “Have fun with your project. Use me as little as possible.”
     “Of course.” She twirls some hair around her finger. “So, when are we meeting tomorrow?”
     She can’t be serious. “Huh?”
     “Well, I need a picture for every day of the year. That means I need you tomorrow too.”
     What have I gotten myself into? “Can we just come here tomorrow?”
     She nods. “Sounds good to me. I’ll see you here at ten. Don’t forget to come.”
     Hmph. “And if I do?”
     “Your loss.” She shoves her hands into her pockets. “I’m not paying you until this time next year.”
     “Fine.” This has been enough perkiness for a day. She smiles enough for both of us. “Well, I’m gonna go now. Guess I’ll see you here tomorrow.”
     She smirks. “You better.” She steps even closer, smile widening. “Try to be a little nicer though, okay? Also, I’d appreciate it if you were sober tomorrow. Just saying.” She tilts her head and narrows her eyes. “Looks like you had fun last night. Nice shirt.”
     “Fun?” I chuckle without humor. “Sure, if that’s what you want to think.”
     She frowns. “What happened last night?”
     What did happen? “Shit.”
     “Oh.” She raises an eyebrow. “What kind?”
     “Nothing.” Who cares that my girlfriend dumped me less than a day before our anniversary? Who cares that I caught her making out with my supposed best friend only five minutes later? No one. No one’s ever cared. And no one ever will.
     “Fine. Don’t tell me. See you tomorrow.”
     With that, she walks away. Finally. I shake my head and check my phone. It’s about noon. Time to go home. I don’t want to be there either. But it beats being photographed by random strangers, even if I’m getting paid.
     I still need a drink. There’s a fountain across the street. Even from here, it looks rusty. I’m about halfway across when a horn blares and brakes screech. I dive forward, glancing behind me to see a car’s bumper. One of the front wheels is inches from my shoe, another almost planting into a tree. I crawl across the street, peering at the window. A middle-aged driver flips me off. The horn’s blare is like a dozen hammers slamming into my skull. I laugh, almost wishing he’d hit me. Almost. He shakes his head and drives off. My stomach churns again. For a moment, I think vomit will burst out of my throat, but I force it back. I pant as I glance around me, then brace my hands on the ground and stand slowly.
     Blood roars in my ears as my heart pounds. That was close. Okay. It’s official. My New Year’s resolution is to not let that happen a second time. For now, I’m getting my ass home.

Chapter 2
      So much for sleeping. Screw hangovers. I roll onto my side and shut my eyes tighter. Someone knocks on the door. I jerk backwards into the headboard. Shit. My skull throbs.
     Knock. Knock. Who’s there? If it’s him, he’s not supposed to be here until after school starts. Besides, he usually just barges in. Is that really him?
     The door rattles as the pounding becomes louder, shaking the room. I bury my face into the pillow. “Go away.” The door creaks open anyway. Thanks for listening to me, asshole. My brother would’ve slammed it open, so it can’t be him. I poke my head out of the covers. The figure has long, dark hair. Cassy? I blink, rubbing dust out of my eyes. “Cassy,” I croak. She steps into the room, and my heart speeds up. “Please, listen to me. I’ll be a better boyfriend, I prom—”
     Click. Light sears my eyes. I blink and shield them with a hand. The girl has brown hair, not black, and is holding a camera. That’s not Cassy. My cheeks burn as Melly puts her camera away. This girl really can’t leave me alone, can she?
     “What was that for?” I block my face from the light.
     She scoffs. “What do you mean? You didn’t show up! What happened?”
     “What happened to manners?” I blink as my eyes adjust. Why did she have to wake me up? I should’ve just ignored her.
     “Hey, I knocked.” She leans against a wall. “That should be good enough.”
     I groan. “And I told you to go away. Did you? No.”
     She crosses her arms. “Do you have any idea how hard it was to find your address? There’s at least thirty Prescotts in Paradise!”
     She stalked me and found my address for a project? Nerd. “Whatever.” Did I ever get that chunk out of my throat? I hack, spit in the general direction of my trash can without checking to see if I made it in, and drag my arm across my mouth. “Why are you so obsessed with photography anyway?”
     She shifts her feet. “None of your business.”
     “You’re using me as your model and it’s none of my business?” I scratch my chin. I should shave. “Are you ever gonna show me those pictures?”
     “Probably not.” She pulls a cell phone out of her pocket and starts texting. Is she even listening to me?
I sit up. “Why not? Give me one good reason.”
     “Shut up!” She bites her lower lip. Her hair falls around her face, hiding her eyes. Fine, then. Be a bitch. She sniffles. Oh shit.
     I rub my eyes and squint at her. She presses a shaking hand to her mouth. My gut clenches. Did I say something I shouldn’t have?
     “Melly? Everything okay?”
     She slides the phone shut, clenching it in her fist. Then she throws her phone on the floor, covering her face with her hands as she bolts out of the room, bright red jacket whipping around the corner. What’s her problem? Groaning, I stumble out of bed. Once on my feet, I grab the phone and run downstairs.
     “Melly!” Dammit. “Melly!”
     The front door slams. What did I do? Maybe not having friends actually is a good idea. I scratch the back of my neck. What do I do now? The hand holding the phone clenches. I don’t want to hold on to this. I have to find her.
     I fling the door open and sprint down the street. Cold air bites my skin. I shiver but keep running. Two blocks over, I find her leaning against a light post covering her face with her hands. I walk over to her. Should I hold her phone out to her? Tap her shoulder? I don’t want to touch girls right now.
     Her head snaps up. “Why did you follow me? Go away!” Her puffy eyes well with tears again.
     I hold my arm out, palm open. “Isn’t this yours?”
     She snatches her phone from me and takes off running again. Crazy bitch. I groan and start walking back home. Is every single day going be like this? Is this really worth what she’s paying me? Maybe I should back out while I can.

*****

     It’s only been two days and Melly is already wearing me out. Why all the drama? Maybe something’s going on with her and her friends? That would require her to have some in the first place, but I haven’t seen her around. Maybe she got bad news of some sort? I wince. At least Cassy broke up with me to my face.
     I scribble “Cassy is a bitch” in several different handwritings, poking holes through the paper. Next thing I know, it’s dark outside and my head is on the table, a page of my sketchbook stuck to my face. Prying it off, I squint at the kitchen clock. It’s just past six. My pencil has rolled onto the floor, and I bend down to pick it up. After tapping my pencil on the sketchbook, I draw an oval.
     A few hours later, crumpled sketches litter the floor. Cassy’s face, which looks more like an ugly dog, is everywhere. My stomach rumbles. I ball up yet another sheet of paper. As I pick my pencil up again, my phone buzzes. One new message.

From: Tina at 9:24 a.m.
You coming today?

I grin. At least I still have her.

Of course.

From: Tina at 9:26 a.m.
Cool. See ya.

     Hold on. It’s 9:26 a.m., not p.m., of January third. Not having school really messes up my sleeping pattern. Was ten o’clock supposed to mean something? I think Melly told me to meet her at ten. But that was for yesterday. She didn’t tell me where to go today. Should I assume she wants me at the park?
     If she really cared about her project, wouldn’t she be here by now? But she also ran out crying yesterday. Maybe I should head over there before she comes barging into my house again.
     Putting my pencil down, I run upstairs and head to my closet. I pull out the first shirt I see and sniff. After determining that it’s clean enough, I yank it over my head. After pulling basketball shorts on too, I check my phone. Nine thirty. I can still make it.
     In the fridge, I find pizza. I made it for Cassy last week, but she just threw it back at me. I kept it, thinking it was probably edible. It’s all I have, so I throw it in the microwave and set it for a minute. Just before I can turn around to use the bathroom, sparks light up inside. Dammit! I left the foil underneath! I stop the microwave and clench my fists. When I think about Cassy, I can’t do anything right.
     Screw it. I can’t eat like this. Grabbing the pizza, I toss it in the trash can, then bolt out the door, sprinting to the park for exercise. Melly’s probably not even there. I shouldn’t actually be worried about being late. But since I’m out, I might as well sketch something decent outside my hellhole of a house.
     When I get to the park bench, Melly’s already sitting there. She looks up and waves. Guess I might as well sit next to her. She smiles, takes her camera out, and places it in her lap. Looks like she’s okay, apart from dark circles underneath her eyes. No need to ask about yesterday.
     “Let’s get this over with,” I grumble.
     “Come on. There’s no rush.” She fiddles with a leaf, shredding it with both hands. She smiles too wide, eyes still red. “I didn’t expect you to show up.”
     Nice to see you too. “Oh yeah? Well, here I am.”
     “I know.” She rolls her eyes. “Give me a moment. I need to decide what picture to take of you today. You know, since you’re probably going to change your hair later.”
     She knows I change my hair on the third of every month? “Whatever.”
     She snaps her fingers. “I have an idea! Can I get a picture of you from the back?”
     “I guess.” She stands and turns on her camera, but I don’t move. I clear my throat. “Do you want me to stay here?”
     Melly bites her lip. “How about you pretend to walk away?”
     “Whatever gets this over with faster.” I turn. There’s a familiar figure on the other side of the park. I freeze, my heart racing. It’s Cassy. Only she would leave her stomach exposed to show off her belly button ring in the middle of winter, even if it’s a warm one. It glints in the sunlight. She’s not alone. Jaxon runs up behind her and grabs her waist. She squeals. So much for thinking Cassy and I were “cute” together, huh, Jaxon? My fists clench. Melly chooses that moment to snap the picture. I turn to face her again. She doesn’t need to know I was watching them. She laughs as I walk back to the bench.
     “What were you staring at?”
     “Nothing.” I keep walking. “I’m gonna leave now.”
     Melly chuckles. “Okay. When are we meeting tomorrow?”
     Good question. I turn back around. “I have work from seven to ten.”
     “Where do you work?”
     At least she didn’t know that. “I’m a lifeguard at the recreation center.”
     “I see.” She tilts her head. “Can I visit while you’re working?”
     “No.” Visitors could get me in trouble. No need to risk being fired, especially over someone I barely know.
     She sighs. “Fine. I’ll just take pictures of you at school. Is that cool?”
     I grit my teeth. “Sure.”
     She stuffs her camera back into her purse. “If I don’t get a picture, I’ll call you. And we’ll have to work out something for the weekends, so … yeah. Can we figure that out now?”
     I frown. “You don’t have my number.”
     “The directory does.” She shakes her head. “Don’t you ever learn?”
     A spasm leaps down my back. My shoulders stiffen. She has my number too? Why would she stalk me, of all people? If she’s going to keep doing this, there are some things she doesn’t need to know. “Wait!” She stops, turning to face me again. Maybe Cassy’s right. Maybe I’m just desperate. “Don’t call that number.”
     “Okay, really?” She folds her arms across her chest, narrowing her eyes. One hand plays with a button on her shirt, which isn’t in a hole. I’d mention it, but she seems pissed, so I don’t say anything. “What’s your problem? What did I do to make you hate me?”
     Hate her? Maybe she pisses me off, but I don’t hate her. At least, I don’t think I do. “I have my reasons! What do you not get about that?”
     “Well, excuse me for trying to be nice!” She takes a few steps closer to me, raising her hand. I flinch as she moves some hair out of her face. “Fine,” she says. “You have your reasons. Tell me some of them, and I’ll leave you alone.”
     Why does she need a reason? I kick a rock. “Just don’t call that number, dammit!”
     “Would that make you happy?” She juts out her lower lip as if to taunt me, holding up her camera with her thumb and forefinger.
     I throw my hands up in the air. “Let’s just get this over with!”
     She sighs. “Fine. But this is actually important to me, Max. How am I going to contact you if I don’t get your picture? Sneak into your house?”
     “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t do that again.” I rip a piece of paper out of the back of my sketchbook, scribble my cell phone number on it, and hand it to her. “Don’t call unless you have to.”
     “Fine.” She exhales. “I’m leaving now. Bye.”
     I don’t watch her leave. Instead, I shove my hands in my pockets and glance over my shoulder for a second. Jaxon has turned towards Cassy; their lips are connected. With Jaxon always third-wheeling us, it was hard for me and Cassy to get much alone time. With me out of the picture, that’s no longer an issue for them. I shake my head and walk away, hoping they haven’t spotted me spying. I already looked pathetic enough at the party. There’s no need to throw the rest of my pride down the drain as well.
     Why was I even with her? Her looks? Because she was the one who asked me out last New Year’s Day after our supposedly only friendly midnight kiss? Or was I just bored?
     It’s not like I know how to love anyway. Isn’t that what they say? “It’s impossible to love someone if no one loves you?”
     They’re heading my way. I should definitely leave. As Melly mentioned, it’s the third, so I head off to the local hairstylist, kicking a small rock as I walk. It doesn’t take long to get to Tina’s Trims. When I push the door open, a bell chimes. Tina Hawthorne, who always does my hair, grins at me behind a magazine. She puts it down, revealing long hair that is now brown with blond streaks. I sit down in a chair as she heads to the back for supplies. She returns a few seconds later.
     “Good to see you!” She places her hands on my shoulders. “Where have you been? I was getting worried.”
     I grin even though she’s probably exaggerating. “You had nothing to worry about. I’m right here.” I try not to breathe in too much; the shop has a floral scent I hope doesn’t cling to my clothes later. “Did you get my message?”
     “Of course I did!” She pats my back. “What happened? You sounded stoned over the phone.”
     Huh? “I didn’t call you.”
     She smirks. “Just making sure you really aren’t stoned. Wouldn’t want you to get into more trouble at school.”
     Fuck. I have school tomorrow. At least I still have today to dick around. I laugh as she gets ready. “My life’s gotten shittier, if you can believe that.”
     “Well, then tell me about it. Tilt your head back for me, will you?”
     I grin to myself and follow directions. She’s the only person who actually listens to me ramble about my life and my family, the only one I’m willing to share my thoughts with. And now, I have Cassy to complain about too.
     Of course, I wonder about Tina’s life too, but she refuses to talk about it. Instead, I spew out some word vomit, knowing I’ll be walking out soon with newly bleached hair and, hopefully, feeling much better.

Author Bio:
Jelsa Mepsey writes young adult contemporary romance fiction, drawing inspiration from daily life. With her work, she is dedicated to spurring people to think about what they have taken for granted and to shed light on the issues people avoid talking about. As an Asian-American in her 20s, she is excited to explore more of the human experience as she herself journeys through life. Writing, rock climbing 5.12 routes, and playing various instruments have resulted in the formation of many calluses on her hands over the years. When not engaging in her previously mentioned hobbies, Jelsa can be found at her local library with a stack of at least ten books, naming her various pens, or staring at her dog Waffles for inspiration.


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Cover Reveal: Pink: Hot N' Sexy for A Cure

Title: Pink: Hot N' Sexy for a Cure
Authors: AM Madden, A.C Bextor, A.D. Justice, Aden Lowe, Andria Large/M.D Saperstein
Autumn Jones Lake, Cora Reilley, Daryl Banner,  Hilary Storm
J.C. Emery, J.C. Valentine,  J.L. Beck, Jani Kay, Jenna Galicki,  Kathryn Kelly
Kira Barker,  L. Wilder, Lani Lynn Vale,  Lisa Eugene,  M.N. Forgy, Michelle Dare
Nina Levine,  R.E. Hargrave,  River Savage,  Sapphire Knight, T.S. Irons, Tara Oakes
Genre: Romance
Expected Release Date: October 1, 2015


Summary:
Join 28 of today's hottest romance authors as they introduce you to their most memorable and beloved characters in an all-new, exclusive, scorching scene. All proceeds of this year's anthology will be donated to The National Breast Cancer Foundation, to help support women in need of mammograms.

To be released on October 1st, 2015 and only available for a limited time!


The participating authors include:
  AM Madden
  A.C Bextor
  A.D. Justice
  Aden Lowe
  Andria Large/M.D Saperstein
  Autumn Jones Lake
  Riley, Daryl Banner
  Hilary Storm
  J.C. Emery
  J.C. Valentine
  J.L. Beck
  Jani Kay
  Jenna Galicki
  Kathryn Kelly
  Kira Barker
  L. Wilder
  Lani Lynn Vale
  Lisa Eugene
  M.N. Forgy
  Michelle Dare
  Nina Levine
  R.E. Hargrave
  River Savage
  Sapphire Knight
  T.S. Irons
  Tara Oakes




Release Day Blitz: Hidden Scars by Amanda K Byrne

Title: Hidden Scars
Author: Amanda K Byrne
Series: Hidden Scars #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Summary:
Sometimes the past won’t stay where it belongs.

Sara’s number one rule of dating: closed off, secretive men need not apply. Years of therapy helped her move past the damage done by her emotionally abusive boyfriend, and she’s ready to date again. Someone funny, laid back, and easy to talk to. All things her coworker Taylor isn’t.

Taylor’s quiet. Too quiet. He operates in permanent stealth mode, and he hides his secrets as well as Sara does. She doesn’t want to be attracted to him, but after a night spent in a hotel room together, trapped by a blizzard, she can’t deny there’s a fire-hot connection between them, waiting to ignite. Their working relationship inches closer and closer to friendship, until one day she gathers her courage and kisses him.

It’s the match Taylor was waiting for.

What starts as a sweet, fumbling friendship quickly becomes a passionate and intense affair. Just when Sara’s starting to feel safe in Taylor’s arms, his secrets come out, and she wonders if she’ll ever be able to stop looking over her shoulder.


     She let the conversation lapse, mechanically eating most of the basket of fries. She was going to kiss him. It was the one step she could take. Maybe it was ahead of schedule, but they didn’t have one, did they? No written directive proclaiming the kiss had to come after so many more weeks of denying she really wanted to know what this man looked like naked.
     Nerves resurfaced with her resolution. She excused herself and hurried to the restroom. The warm water ran over her hands as she soaped them, ridding her skin of the last of the salt. Taylor had already paid their tab by the time she returned, no steadier than when she’d left. Heart beating at a rapid pace, she brushed past him when he held the door open for her. Jittery excitement rose with each step toward the street her bus stop was on. If she was going to do this before she could talk herself out of it, she’d have to spring it on him. Trying not to telegraph her intent, she gave him a quick smile and turned to walk off, toward her bus stop. Then she spun around and kissed him. He didn’t respond. His lips remained immobile against hers, and a flush worked its way up her neck to the tips of her ears. Dropping onto her heels, she offered him another tight smile and headed off to her bus stop.
     Stupid. Stupid stupid stupid to attempt something with a man who had only recently given her any indication he might be interested in something more. Her heels clicked over the sidewalk as she hurried toward the bus shelter, away from Taylor. The best, or worst, part of all of it was he’d probably act like nothing had happened.
     Best. Best thing. It would mean they could continue to work together without awkwardness.
     The part of her brain that wasn’t working overtime to rationalize the situation registered the sound of footsteps coming up behind her. Her shriek of surprise was muffled by a hot, firm mouth, lips molding to hers, begging her to respond. Taylor’s hands slid down, over her hips, gripping and yanking her to him, and her arms wound around his neck as she opened for him. His tongue tangled with hers, giving her exactly what she needed, lust and heat and a kind of claiming that crushed her doubts to a million tiny pieces.
     She kissed him back, licking into his mouth, giving him more than he’d asked for, bound and determined to make him remember this one kiss, as if it was the only one they’d ever share.
     The kiss was all demands. There was no softness, no gentle exploration. The need that had flared to life as his mouth continued to assault hers ratcheted higher, and she forgot they were on a crowded sidewalk during rush hour. She wanted that mouth all over her. On her neck. Her breasts. Over her belly. Between her thighs. Especially there, stoking the fire until it flamed out of control.
     The kiss broke, the two of them panting, his eyes cloudy with desire. “Sara.” His hands were in her hair, and she dimly wondered where the pins holding it up had gone. He kissed her forehead. “You should go home,” he murmured.
     Yes. Going home would be good. He should come with her so they could continue this with far less clothing. “Stay safe.”
     His lips brushed over hers, and then he was gone.


You know these. The things where you dart furtive glances around, making sure no one can see you indulging in your…Guilty pleasure.
I’m pretty up front about my likes and dislikes, but I’ve got a few that I’m not all that keen on revealing for the teasing and/or lectures it might get me.

Like movie theater popcorn. This stuff is sooooo bad for you, with its fake butter and double count of your daily ration of salt, but sometimes I just have to have it.

Or Thirty Seconds to Mars. The band has plenty of eager and vocal fans, but I’ve kept my fandom under wraps (until now). Why? My friends are music snobs. I’m kind of a music snob. And the BF is one of the biggest music snobs I know, but at least for him, it makes sense (he’s a classically trained musician). The sound of Thirty Seconds to Mars is too slick and overproduced for me to really take them seriously, but I like them anyway.

Reruns of The Hills falls on the list, too. When it was still on MTV, I was much, much better about going to the gym. I’d climb on the elliptical machine and stay there until the episode was over, and I got deeply invested in the pseudo-relationship between Lauren and Brody. Like, I was really disappointed when they couldn’t work it out and get back together.

This last one is going to make me sound like a total snob, but I can’t help it. I am a film snob. I have a membership to the Seattle International Film Festival, and I go every year. Foreign films are my jam. And while I’ll happily watch good action movies (you know, the ones with an intricate plot, fast pace, and preferably starring Andy Lau), I sometimes need to watch a particularly bad action movie. Ones with unnecessary explosions, fight scenes that go on forever, and ridiculous, over-the-top plots that are so far off the plausibility scale it’s laughable.

Are you game to admit your guilty pleasure?

Author Bio:
When she’s not plotting ways to sneak her latest shoe purchase past her partner, Amanda writes sexy, snarky romance and urban fantasy. She likes her heroines smart and unafraid to make mistakes, and her heroes strong enough to take them on.

If she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking hot chocolate, and trying not to destroy her house with her newest DIY project. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and no, it really doesn’t rain that much.


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The Heart's Journey Home by Nikki Jackson

Title: The Heart's Journey Home
Author: Nikki Jackson
Series: California Blend Summer Vacation #1
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Release Date: September 12, 2015
Summary:
California Blend Summer Vacation is the first book of this series.

As book one it introduces the three main characters: Tori Logan, AJ Reynolds and Kalea Kinimaka.

It’s summer vacation, and all seventeen-year-old Tori Logan wants to do is hang out with her two best friends, practice her mixed martial arts and go to FBI spy camp. Summer means freedom (mostly from adults) and Tori plans to fill every spare moment of her last summer before graduating from High School with all the fun things she and her best pals can come up with.

The Heart’s Journey Home Book CoverTori, whose mom died of breast cancer when she was young, has always relied on her own strength to get by – especially because her Archeologist father tends to leave her behind with his live-in girlfriend while he gallivants around the world on digs. Thankfully, Tori can take care of herself. She knows exactly who she is and what she wants to do with her life. Her Lakota Sioux grandfather, a former Navy SEAL, trained Tori in self-defense from a young age. Now, as a teenager, Tori excels at mixed martial arts and the use of various weapons. During the summer she will be attending an FBI sponsored Summer Camp which she hopes will lead to her dream job – becoming an FBI serial killer profiler.

With her two best friends at her side, Tori believes she can handle anything. And with summer vacation stretching before them, the trio plans to find plenty of adventure.

But while Tori is determined to be independent, life has other plans for this fierce young woman, and they include coming to grips with some hard – and surprising – truths about both her past and her future.


     Tori moved in sweeping his left leg out from under him. He fell backwards with a thud landing square on his back. As for Tori, she was standing full on her feet dancing in front of him. He came to his feet quickly, lunging. Tori side-stepped, took his lead arm and gave his momentum a healthy shove. Off balanced he went flying across the ring and bounced off the ropes landing hard on the canvas.
     They’d drawn a crowd by now, half hooping for Tori. The noise trickled over to the Community House and Harald left Fletcher to investigate. As he rounded the side he stopped short to see his granddaughter going toe to toe with the Grant boy.
     “Oh my goodness.” Rachael said stepping beside Harald.
     Mitchell came at Tori, snatching her arm quickly and shoving a hip at her getting her off the ground. Tori was surprised he could move so quickly for a tall thick guy. As she came around his hip she turned slightly, grabbed his wrist and knocking him off balance enough with her hip she flung him over her head. Mitchell landed hard but rolled to his feet and advanced and so did Tori.
     Tori met his karate blows, blocking them with responsive blows of her own and every kick, which she saw telegraphed ahead of time, was slapped away with a hand or blocked with her feet. Frustrated Mitchell attacked with a barrage of punches and throws only to have each one deflected or trapped in a maze of Tori’s blurred arms, legs and hands. He couldn’t believe it. It was like some sick scene from The Matrix where Neo was fighting Smith with one hand while looking at the fingernails on his other hand. All the time Smith was punching and throwing everything he had at him. Mitchell got the sick sinking feeling that Tori was Neo and he was cooked.
     Desperate, he lashed out and swept Tori’s leg. Surprised and off balance she hit the canvas and he was on her before she could roll out and get to her feet. He tried frantically to get an arm, a foot, something trapped but she was slippery quick. Maybe if he grabbed her hair, he thought. It was in a large braided ponytail. Mitchell grabbed her hair jerking it back and then maneuvered an arm around her neck.
     “Tori!” Rachael gasped moving forward. Harald grabbed her arm pulling her back.
     “Be still woman.” He whispered loudly. Rachael stopped and stood, shocked. She stared at him. He was smiling. That brute of a boy was trying to choke his only grandchild and the old loon was smiling.
     Rachael scanned the ground for a brick or cement block to throw but Harald’s chuckling brought her eyes back to the ring. Tori was on Mitchell’s back, her right arm around his neck. As he flailed about trying to get loose, they rolled over which allowed Tori to cinch her choking arm under Mitchell’s chin. She clasped her left hand in her right and applied more pressure to his neck.
     While he fruitlessly struggled she moved her left leg over his chest, then moved her right over the left shin locking her legs in place. Mitchell rocked helpless back and forth, but he couldn’t get loose.
The crowd was yelling instructions to Mitchell and to Tori. She bent her mouth close to his ear.
     “Your choice Mickey.” she whispered loud enough for only him to hear. “I’m not gonna make you tap out in front of everybody, just blink your eyes.” she said. “Blink’em quick, outside of that you’re going to sleep.”
     Mitchell felt his head getting foggy and he started seeing stars. He was grabbing madly with his hands but he couldn’t get himself free. He was starting to lose consciousness and he knew it. He would never be able to live down being choked out by a skinny girl. His life would be ruined.
     While he still could he blinked his eyes with everything in him and he felt the hold loosening. With his last ounce of strength he rolled over shoving Tori hard, as far away as he could, gasping for breath as he came to his feet.

My Dream Co-Writing Partner 
If I had the opportunity to co-write a book with any living author I would choose Steven King.  Those who know me would be surprised because I don’t watch ‘scary’ movies and I don’t read scary books.  I saw the original version of Night of the Living Dead many years ago and that was it (well, that coupled with those flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz).  I couldn’t sleep for a month.  That’s when I swore off scary movies forever.

So then why Steven King?  Two works of his: The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. The movie - The Shawshank Redemption was adapted from King’s novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. I thought it was excellent - the plot, the characters, the tightly woven story – I’ve watched the movie a zillion times.

Likewise, The Green Mile, another prison story and another fine piece of work.  Wonderfully diverse characters, great drama: parts of it was funny, other parts sad, a story any author would read and wish they’d written (or co-written).

King is great at his craft.  Literally a master.  We writers read and view the works of those we respect with a jealous awe because they’ve figured it out – how to take the reader/audience through a full range of emotions and leave them spent and satisfied in the end.  I’d love to look into the non-scary inner workings of his writer mind, a mind that can make plots and characters so believable. A mind that can weave a morality tale into the middle of a gory story that challenges the reader/viewer with - what would you do if faced with the same situation?  He both scares you and makes you think.  He makes you commit.  This is why Steven King is my co-writing choice.  He’s an amazing story-teller and cinema genius.

I love being a writer.  I love the idea of having the effect on others that the authors I’ve read have had on me.  Laughing out loud and crying out loud too.  Getting mad and yelling at the book, even throwing the book against the wall because I got shocked or snookered just that bad.  I love endings I didn’t see coming and then the sweet sugary ones I saw coming a mile away but I hung on because I was curious as to how the author would write it.  I love reading that last page and closing the book and smiling. Totally satisfied.

Ultimately that’s what we writers want from you readers – we want you to buy into the journey and be satisfied at its end.  We want you to lick the plate clean, and grin your widest grin, and ask us for more.

Author Bio:
Nikki Jackson considers herself to be an Indie Writer, Journeyman and Traveler. She's camped out in the Grand Canyon just to see the sunrise over a stupendous backdrop and she yet dreams to travel to Mount Everest, not to climb any part of it but to simply stand at the North Base Camp and take it all in, in person. Nikki's love of adventure was inspired at an early age at the local library where she spent summers reading about young travelers going cross-country and around the world. She loved the adventures that took her out of the bottom bunk of her bed (her favorite reading spot) and had her soaring across the clouds to lands filled with wonderful and diverse people. It was then and there Nikki decided she wanted to be a writer - she wanted to have the same effect on people reading books had on her. The Heart's Journey Home is the beginning of the adventure.


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Release Day Blitz: Dance with the Devil by Angela Dennis

Title: Dance with the Devil
Author: Angela Dennis
Series: Soul's Harbor Pride #1
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Samhaim Publising
Cover Design: Kanaxa
Summary:
Born to be enemies. Destined to be lovers.

After killing one of her father’s enforcers, half-blood lion shifter Jillian Winters ran for her life, landing in an upscale bar halfway across the country. Her boss, Carrick—a pure-blood shifter—has no idea his barmaid is a fugitive.

When her father’s recklessness puts the Pride at risk, Jillian must return home and assume his place as Alpha. But not before she indulges in a taste of the attraction that’s been building for years between her and Carrick.

Carrick Granger has had a soft spot for Jillian from the moment she stepped into his bar, soaking wet and afraid of her own shadow. He knows she has secrets. So does he. He’s also the outcast son of an Alpha—and now that his father is dead, he, too, has been summoned home.

Thinking they’ll never see each other again, the simmering heat between them ignites like a match to gunpowder. But then the bullets start flying, forcing them to choose—duty to their Prides, or the one person they can’t live without.

***Warning: This book contains deception, lies, betrayal, a sexy lion who is determined to claim his mate, and a mating bond that will change the landscape of the Prides forever.***


Her attraction to him was beyond dangerous. But, thankfully, that attraction wasn’t mutual. If it had been, it would have been impossible to turn him away. A smarter person would have left town the second they realized Carrick was a shifter. But, like an idiot, she had stayed, unable to resist being around him during her short stint of freedom.

Even now, the call of the Pride echoed in her mind like the beginnings of a migraine. She massaged her aching temples. Carrick was so close that her hand brushed his shoulder as she reached for her head. Although it was an innocent touch, the heat of his body seared her skin.

Damn it. Fate had a twisted sense of humor. No other man had ever affected her like this.

When he turned, the intention in his green eyes was unmistakable. She stepped back, stunned, heart pounding. With a nervous swallow, she licked her dry lips. He moved closer, eyes focused on her mouth. Torn between flight and surrender, she froze.

Their bodies brushing, Carrick ran his hands down the length of her arms. “How many layers do you have under there?” He squeezed her shoulders gently. “Take them off. I’ll make a fire.” He grasped her hand, tugging her toward the fireplace.

Jillian didn’t move. She couldn’t do this. “Thought you didn’t want to talk?”

“I changed my mind.” He released her hand and moved across the room, crouching before the hearth to kindle the flames.

She couldn’t make herself move, either forward or away. This was her last chance. Once she walked out that door, she was gone forever.

Author Bio:
Angela Dennis lives outside Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband, son and a sheltie with a hero complex. When she is not at her computer crafting stories, she can be found feeding her coffee addiction, playing peek-a-boo, or teaching her son about the great adventures found only in books.

You can visit Angela at her website. She loves to hear from her readers, so don’t forget to find her on Twitter to chat.


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