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The Center Cannot Hold


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The Center Cannot Hold
Mystery/Thriller
Date Published: October 2018
Publisher: Writers & Editors

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In the depths of winter, Cedar County is on occasion literally frozen in place. Roads are impassable; the area schools are closed for days at a time. And the bad guys and gals, they’re hunkered down like everyone else until the weather breaks. But this winter isn’t the usual. There are arson and murder. The iniquities of some particularly unsavory ancestors are being visited upon the current generation.

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About the Author

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Aaron Stander spent most of his adult years in the Detroit area, where he taught English and trained writing teachers. In 2000 he and his wife left college teaching positions and moved permanently to their cottage near Traverse City. Aaron is the author ten mysteries set in northwest lower Michigan. He is also the author of numerous articles, stories, poems, and reviews, and the host of Michigan Writers on the Air on Interlochen Public Radio. When not writing or thinking about writing, Aaron spends a lot of time kayaking along the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.



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Cover Reveal

Protagonized by Shannon Myers




Title: Protagonized
Author: Shannon Myers
Genre: Literary Fiction/Romantic Comedy
Cover Design: The Final Wrap
Photo: Wander Aguiar
Models: Colton Benson
Release Date: January 24, 2019



Blurb

Describe Jake Hopkins in two words? 

Boozing womanizer. 

So, maybe he solved cases with a precision not seen since Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. It didn’t matter. The guy was a grade A prick. 

And killing him was the best decision I ever made—until it wasn’t.

It was supposed to be a good move for me—a way of showing that I wasn’t one to back down.
I never imagined it would cause such a visceral reaction…among my readers. 

I didn’t get it. He was barely tolerable most of the time and his death opened the door for a new detective—maybe one who had her act together.

I never would’ve guessed that he’d show up on my doorstep, begging for a second chance, or that he’d look even better than I ever imagined. Characters die and everyone moves on—that’s the way it works. Sometimes it’s even necessary for the story to progress.

When the hate mail gives way to something more sinister, Jake insists that he’s just the man to handle the case. He vows to keep me safe in exchange for his life. 

The problem isn’t resurrecting him. 

No, my problem is much worse.

How do I stop myself from falling in love with a fictional character?







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Excerpt

“Okay, now when we get there, act normal. Order whatever you usually get. Sit where you normally do. That kind of thing. Don’t get too focused on looking for a suspect. That’s my job.” Jake hit his turn signal and switched lanes. I was riding shotgun in the shiny black Raptor I’d written for him and, any moment now, I was going to wake up back in bed, having dreamt this entire thing. I rubbed my damp palms against my jeans and focused on my breathing.
After getting dressed in record time, Jake had wanted to know my schedule for a typical day. When I mentioned that I wrote at a local coffee shop a couple of times a week, his eyes lit up. I was relieved that I’d left out the fact that I worked at a salon in the afternoons and evenings because there was not a chance in hell of me letting him tag along there.
We pulled into the parking lot and Jake turned to me. He studied me for a second, giving a slight head shake at my you’ve got to be kitten me right meow, t-shirt. “This is the place?” He looked through the windshield at the Cold Brews Co. sign and then back at me. “It looks like a bar.”
“No, their specialty is cold brew coffees—look, is this a good idea?”
Translation: Is this safe?
He nodded. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you.” 
The thought that someone, besides Bootsy and Aaris, wanted to keep me safe did weird things to my heart, even if it was coming from Jake. I fought the urge to pump my fist in the air while laughing like a lunatic.
“After all, you’re my meal ticket. If you get dead, I can’t get back home,” he finished with a pouty smirk.
Oh good, the limbic rage was back. I’d been worried it was gone forever once the handcuffs were off.
“Why do you do that with your mouth?” I snapped, as I unbuckled and climbed down to the pavement.
“Do what? He pursed his lips again.
“That! You’re doing it again.”
At his blank expression, I forced my own lips into a duck pose as he held the coffee shop door open for me. “Like this.”
“Why are you doing that to your face? Stop. People are staring.” He hissed, glancing around.
“You look like that all the time.”
“Good Morning, Hayden,” my favorite barista, Damien, called over the espresso machine as the door jingled above our heads, announcing our arrival. “The usual?”
I immediately softened my expression, trying to channel the joy and tranquility that tried to flee when Jake entered a room. “Yeah, that’ll be perfect. Thanks, Damien. How’d Paul do on his test?”
He poured steamed milk into a paper cup for a to-go order with a dramatic eye roll. “Nailed it. Like he does everything else. I just have to talk him off the ledge every time though. How’d I end up the motivator in this relationship? I swear.”
“Because you’re a positive person and deserving of all the good things life has to offer,” I reminded him as I selected a bottled water from the refrigerated case
“I just come here a couple of times a week, but know everyone’s life story,” Jake quietly taunted at my back, his body inches from mine. A shudder worked its way down to my toes as the scent of campfire and pine flooded my nostrils. 
Were there notes of citrus layered in there? No, I was definitely detecting hints of clean laundry that had been dried on a clothesline mixed with something.
Gah, what was it?
I wanted to lean back and rest my head against his chest while looking up at him adoringly. Just like I’d witnessed the younger couples that frequented this place do on more than one occasion. But this time, it’d be me experiencing something other than abject disappointment.
Me and my very own tree.
And I’d climb that redwood every day.
Just doing my part to save the earth, kids.
I was struck with the image of massive hands on my hips, pinning me in place. I’d just bet that his fingers would curl in possessively, marking me as his to anyone who dared to look. The cold air blasted around bottles of juice and water, yet inside, I was sweltering.
His proximity was messing with my brain waves. I straightened with a shaky exhale and carried my water over to the register, doing my best to ignore my flushed cheeks and the giant I came in with.
Damien added a heart to the foam and handed me my caffè mocha before noticing Jake. “Hey, you brought a friend,” he exclaimed in his typical sing-song.
I shook my head. “We just came in at the same time. I don’t know this man.”
I wasn’t just imagining all the ways I’d like him to defile me in front of the poor beverage case, either, in case you were wondering.
“Are you sure you don’t want to get to know him?” He stage-whispered, raising his eyebrows up and down suggestively as he snagged me a cinnamon roll from the case.
“Oh, no. I’ve got quite enough excitement in my life.”
Damien gave Jake another once over. “If you say so. I personally think when excitement comes packaged like that, you thank the universe and don’t ask questions. But, that’s just me. How’s Bootsy doing? Is she still loving her holistic food?”
“Yes. It has made such a difference with her…” 
Shit, what was it supposed to do? 
“Poops?” I offered hesitantly just as Damien suggested, “Her coat?”
He frowned. “It shouldn’t have changed her bowel habits. My girls didn’t seem to be any different. Maybe check with the company—”
I waved my hand. “Oh, no I meant that she was much more ‘regular,’ if you know what I mean. Poor thing, uh, couldn’t get the job done before. This food has really taken in her interconnectedness with her, um, environment. She’s living her best holistic life now.”
I made the mistake of looking over at Jake. He stood at the counter with wide eyes and a what the fuck are you talking about expression on his face.
• Confession: I never actually bought the cat food that Damien recommended. I went to the pet store with every intention of purchasing the all-natural, chock full of vitamins and omegas, and completely grain-free canned cat food until I saw the price. At six bucks a tin, I decided that I would just let Bootsy continue her unwholesome lifestyle. Unfortunately, Damien asked about it the very next time I was in, and instead of coming clean, I told a little white lie. He’d just made it seem like letting your fur baby eat anything else was bad pet parenting. And, it wasn’t like he would ever know. He wasn’t going to show up to my apartment, demanding to see the contents of Bootsy’s litter box.
Damien nodded. “Well, let me know if you need anything else for her. Oh, have you noticed how much more connected she is spiritually to you now? I swear, I recommend it to everyone.”
I avoided Jake’s penetrating stare as I paid before patting the front pocket of my backpack. “Definitely. So… Zen. Well, I better get to it.”
“Same. I’ll come by and check on you in a bit.”
I stuck the bottle of water in the side pocket of my bag, juggling the cinnamon roll and mocha as I made my way to the wooden table near the back. It was the only table with an outlet that was out of direct sunlight. 
Next to it was an old wooden hutch that held cream and sugar. I found that it was the best seat in the house for eavesdropping, which was a win-win for an author in need of a story. 
I loved everything about coming here. From the exposed brick walls and ceiling beams to the vintage signs and old produce case turned bookshelf, it was the perfect place to let my creativity flow.
Jake solved his first case here. Incidentally, he also fell off a balcony at this very table. It held a special place in my heart.
“I’m going to sit on the other side of the room,” Jake said in a low voice. Instinctively, I turned to where his voice came from just in time to see him add sugar to his coffee. 
“No, don’t turn around. You and I aren’t having a conversation.”
He was going to add precisely two and a half raw sugars, keeping the other half in his pocket for his next caffeine fix. When I heard the distinct sound of paper being folded, a victorious smirk spread across my face. God, I loved being right.
“Why are you smiling?” He kept his back to me, so it appeared as if he was having a conversation with the various creamers.
“I’m not.” My grin widened.
He sighed, “You are. I can see your reflection in the carafe. What about this investigation is funny to you? See, someone shoots up my door, I’m not laughing. Then again, I’m not trying to have a spiritual intervention with my cat.”
My smile faded, and I turned all of my attention into retrieving my laptop from the backpack at my feet. “You’re just so—” What was he? “Predictable. Everything you do is exactly the way I wrote it. Sometimes, I’m even convinced that I know what you’re going to do next before you do.”
I saw him reach for a stirrer in the reflection of my laptop screen. Judging by how vigorously he was using it, I’d gotten under his skin.
“You’re probably right,” he finally conceded. “You are, after all, operating on an entirely different plane than the rest of the world. I’ll be across the room; try to act normal.”
I bit the inside of my cheek. “And how am I supposed to do that when you’re watching me from across the room?”
“Just write the book, Hayden. Don’t worry about who’s coming or going. Let me handle that. Tap your finger twice against the table if you understand.”
I did, feeling like a secret agent in a summer blockbuster.
With villains at every turn, there was only one woman capable of saving the world. All she needed was her trusty laptop and some caffeine—
“Hayden, I just needed you to tap twice. You can stop now.” He snagged a newspaper off an empty table and tucked it under his arm before moving toward a table near the front. From there, he’d be able to see everyone coming and going.
I took a bite of my cinnamon roll and cracked my knuckles before pulling up my manuscript. 
Alright, Laura. Let’s solve a mystery…
Laura stood, shoulder to shoulder, with some of the city’s most upstanding citizens. It was unfathomable to think that any one of them could’ve been responsible for the body lying in the street, but her instincts told her that was exactly the case.
My mind went blank, and I began distractedly counting each pulse of the cursor. I was simply rehashing what I’d already covered. In all honesty, I had no idea what to do with Laura. Jake had pointed out her implied elderliness more than once and now I couldn’t help but picture her as some blue-haired granny with a cane.
How was she supposed to solve a murder?
Plus, by mentioning her husband early on, I’d destroyed any chance of adding a love interest for friction. It was shit.
I tried again.
Laura stepped away from the crowd and searched for… a way out of this story. She’d gotten roped into playing the main character after the author killed off the other one. Laura didn’t want to be next.
Laura was fucking everything up.
Jake caught my eye and frowned from over the newspaper. Obviously, he was enjoying the drivel I was spewing out about as much as I was.
I took a long drink of coffee, but the caffeine only confirmed what I already knew. I needed a new main character. Someone who was younger. Female. Maybe she’d been exposed to law enforcement by a former boyfriend or family member. Just enough that she’d know her way around a crime scene—oh my god.
My legs caught the edge of the table as I quickly stood up, rattling the plate containing my half eaten cinnamon roll. I just needed to act discreet. 
Jake had the paper up again, reading, so I couldn’t signal for Plan A, which was for him to meet me in the bathroom. I was going to have to go with Plan B. I walked over behind his table and looked out the large glass garage door that they opened during the summer months.
Realizing I still hadn’t grabbed his attention, I stretched my arms overhead and yawned loudly.
“Hayden, what the hell are you doing?” He asked, without lowering the paper.
“I have a question,” I said, much louder than anticipated. I tried again, this time lowering my voice. “I have a question. About the book.”
When he remained quiet, I continued. “I think you’re right about Laura—oh man, what a beautiful day it is! Sorry, I thought that person was coming over here. We gotta stay discreet, right? So, I’m starting to think that maybe she’s not the right character. I was wondering if maybe—”
Jake dropped the newspaper and pushed his chair back away from the table, the legs scraping loudly against the concrete floor.
Good. We were going to discuss this like real people and not spies. Although I really felt like I was starting to get the hang of it.
“Our cover’s completely blown. I’ll be out in the truck.” I followed his gaze over to the counter where Damien was waving slyly at me.
I returned it and turned back in time to see Jake disappear through the front door.
Shit.
“Decided you were in the mood for some excitement, after all?” Damien carried a damp cloth in his hand, but he wasn’t here to wipe down the table. He was here for the dirt.
“Um, well, I tried. Got shot down. Better luck next time, I guess.” I kept sneaking furtive glances toward the parking lot, hoping to catch a glimpse of my surly detective.
Well, not mine, mine.
“He’s kind of a pretty boy, isn’t he?” Damien asked.
I nodded. “Yep. It wouldn’t have worked out. Bootsy’s the most high maintenance thing in my life. I don’t have room for another. Would you mind boxing up my cinnamon roll and getting me a to-go cup? I’m just not feeling my muse this morning.” 
“Sure thing.”
It was supposed to be part of the cover, but I realized that there was no scenario where Jake suddenly developed feelings for me. He’d said just as much before we came in. 
Damien brought me my food items as I packed up the laptop, consoling me with promises of what he’d do to Jake’s drink if he ever bothered showing up again. By the time I made it outside, the air had turned cooler and clouds darkened the sky. I walked around to the back parking lot.
“I think they saw us come in together,” Jake said, by way of greeting, as I struggled to climb up into the truck with full hands
“Oh, hey. Hello. I’m doing great, thanks for asking, Jake.” 
He leaned across the seat and took both the coffee and the cinnamon roll from my hands before helping me up. “Hi, Hayden. This will come as a bit of a shock to you, but you stick out like a sore thumb.”
I snapped the seat belt into the buckle. “I do not! I was inconspicuous.”
He put the truck in reverse just as the first drops of rain began to fall on the windshield. “You were about as inconspicuous as a beer vendor at an AA meeting. And what the fuck was that cat food conversation?”
“You told me to be myself!” I bit out.
“Yeah,” he agreed before merging into traffic. “That was a mistake.”
“You coming back to life was a mistake,” I muttered to the passenger side window.
He prodded. “C’mon, Hayden. Surely you know that this operation failed miserably?”
Why couldn’t he have been hideous? At least then the exterior would’ve matched the interior.
“Any good stalker worth their salt is gonna stake out the parking lot. So, probably. Maybe. Alright, fine. Yes. There’s a very good chance that if someone was watching, they probably saw us together. It’s mostly my fault.”
“Mostly?” Jake asked, with a quirked brow.
“Yeah, I wasn’t thinking this morning and I put on my oil spray.”
He stopped at a red light and turned toward me. “You put on oil spray.” His speech was slow and measured like I’d suddenly stopped speaking English. “What does that mean exactly?”
“Oh, I’m an empath, so if I don’t use my spray every morning, I am drained by lunch. You know, it gets way too people-y out there.”
Instead of agreeing, Jake signaled and pulled into a gas station. “Hayden, I didn’t understand two words of what you just said. What the fuck is an empath and how does oil spray factor into this investigation?”
Seriously? What planet was he living on that he didn’t know about oils and empaths?
“My spray repels negative energy, so it’s a protective measure. It blocks any energy attacks and keeps me running on a full tank. It’s vital when I’m in writing mode.”
His eyebrows lifted. “So, let me get this straight; the spray kept the stalker away?”
“Not exactly,” I admitted with a sigh. “I have my crystals too. I swear, I didn’t even think about it being a problem. It’s just a habit to keep them in my purse. I mean, it’s not like I typically go out in search of negativity.”
He shook his head. “So, the crystals and sprays keep you safe from the bad people?”
Finally.
“Yes,” I nodded happily. “And, with the work that you do, you could really benefit from it. I’d start small. Maybe keep some black tourmaline in your truck and house. Oh, amethyst would be a good one for you; they work as both a protector and a stress reliever. It’d definitely make things more bearable for you at work. Hematite’s another—”
“Sweetheart, there’s not enough oils and crystals in the world to make some people bearable. Do you catch what I’m saying?”
I opened my mouth to respond, but only managed a growl. The back of my eyelids burned and I knew that if I tried to talk, it’d just come out as a sob. That, in turn, would just freak Jake out completely.
I hated that about myself. Other people got mad and spoke their minds. Me? I cried and babbled incoherently. 
Aaris once informed me that I got ‘wet angry.’ According to her, the majority of my emotions, including anger, were expressed through tears. Aaris? She was in a separate category known as ‘dry angry.’ She expressed her anger like anger—it both amazed and scared the hell out of me.
We drove in silence for about ten minutes before he asked, “What are you thinking?”
I turned away from watching the raindrops race each other across the window to answer. “I was just thinking that thirty stories wasn’t high enough.”






Author Bio


Shannon is a born and raised Texan. She grew up inventing clever stories, usually to get herself out of trouble. Her mother was not amused. In junior high, she began writing fractured fairy tales from the villain’s point of view and that was the moment she knew that she was going to use her powers for evil instead of good.

In 2003, she moved to Denver and met the love of her life. After some relentless stalking and a few well-timed sarcastic remarks, the man eventually gave in to her charms and wifed her so hard. They welcomed a son in 2007 that they named after their favorite Marvel superhero, Spiderman. 

Sick of seeing beautiful mountains through their window every day, the three escaped back to the desolate landscape of the west Texas desert in 2009. She welcomed her second son not long after and soon realized that being surrounded by three men was nothing at all like she’d imagined in her fantasies.

After an unplanned surgery in 2014 and a long pity party, she decided to pen a novel about the worst thing that could happen to a person in order to cheer herself up. She’s twisted like that. Thus, From This Day Forward was born and the rest, as they say, is history.

Not only does Shannon enjoy stalking people, she also has a fondness for being stalked. Visit her at www.shannonshaemyers.com to keep up with her latest schemes and shenanigans.


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Book Blitz

Rising Star by Susannah Nix

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Genre – Contemporary Movie Star Romance

Page count – 329 pages

Cover Designer: Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations https://www.okaycreations.com/
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Alice Carlisle has problems.

Her sociology Ph.D. dissertation is going nowhere, she’s about to lose the TV extra job that’s
been paying her bills, and her roommate is kicking her out. She needs to find a new place to live

ASAP, so she can focus on finally finishing her doctorate.

Enter Griffin, one of Hollywood’s rising stars, who offers to let her move into his guest room if
she’ll dog sit for him. Four months rent free in a nice house with an adorable dog is an offer
Alice can’t turn down—even if she has major qualms about her movie star roommate.

Griffin Beach has it all.

He’s gorgeous, newly jacked, and poised to make the leap from TV show regular to box office
superstar. Until his dog sitter bails, leaving him desperate to find someone he trusts to look after

his precious fur baby.

Someone like Alice, the extra who’s never seemed to like him but loves his dog. Griffin has his
doubts about the arrangement, but living with Alice opens his eyes to how empty his workaholic
lifestyle has become. The more time they spend together, the more he realizes she might be

exactly what he needs in his life.

Can Alice let her guard down and learn to trust again? Can Griffin stop trying to please everyone
else long enough to show her how he feels? Will they get their Hollywood happy ending? Or will

their love story bomb at the box office?

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Susannah Nix lives in Texas with her husband, two ornery cats, and a flatulent pit bull. When
she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, knitting, watching stupid amounts of television,
and getting distracted by Tumblr. She is also a powerlifter who can deadlift as much as Captain

America weighs.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH SUSANNAH NIX

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Untrainable by Author Jamie Schlosser

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Genre: Standalone Romantic Comedy

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It doesn’t take much to become the laughing stock of reality television. Just ask Theodore “Theo-
Dog” Legend. Once you’ve pissed on a fire hydrant in front of the paparazzi, no one ever lets

you forget it.

Hadley Holiday is on her way to being America’s sweetheart, thanks to her dog training routine
on a national talent show. Although she didn’t win first prize, she snagged Theo’s attention and
he’ll do just about anything to make her his—even if it means being the butt of everyone’s joke

once again.

Hadley wants a career in showbiz. Theo needs to get rid of that doggone nickname—pun
intended. Pairing the two together on a new show sounds like a disaster waiting to happen… or it

could be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.

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Jamie Schlosser grew up on a farm in Illinois surrounded by cornfields. Although she no
longer lives in the country, her dream is to return to rural living someday. As a stay-at-
home mom, she spends most of her days running back and forth between her two
wonderful kids and her laptop. She loves her family, iced coffee, and happily-ever-afters.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE SCHLOSSER

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Release Boost

Three Guilty Pleasures by Nikki Sloane

Three Guilty Pleasures by Nikki Sloane is available now! Deliciously addicting! The Blindfold Club series is your next binge read!

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I didn’t expect to fall off the stage and land in the powerful arms of this gorgeous man. He’s a brutal warrior on the rugby field and a delicate artist with the cello, and the combination is irresistible. His music seduces. It inspires my dancing and demands my surrender. I gave up on my dream once, and I’ll need his help to resume the chase. He’s the only one who sees the real me, and when we take the stage together, I’m willing to give him everything. My submission. The dark secret I’ve been keeping. Even my tenuous heart. But will he want any of it once he knows the truth?

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About the Author: Nikki Sloane landed in graphic design after her careers as a waitress, a screenwriter, and a ballroom dance instructor fell through. For eight years she worked for a design firm in that extremely tall, black, and tiered building in Chicago that went through an unfortunate name change during her time there. Now she lives in Kentucky and manages a team of graphic artists. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, is married with two sons, writes dirty books, and couldn’t be any happier. Stalk Nikki: Website: http://www.nikkisloane.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nikkisloaneauthor/?fref=ts Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AuthorNSloane Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fsTzpI Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/NikkiSloane
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Alive (Sundown Series Book 3) by Courtney Konstantin – Author

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Series Names – The Sundown Series
Genre – Post-Apocalypse (zombie fiction)
Page Count – 283 Pages

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Rafe Duncan has been working his family’s compound for years in the event of a global

catastrophe– and doomsday has finally arrived.

Both he and Charlie Brewer work at a facility where secret government experiments are carried
out, experiments that are classified even to them. Then the plague breaks loose, and hell arrives

on earth.

Rafe and Charlie must band together to stay alive in a world where flesh-eating zombies hunt
humankind. But the plague victims aren’t the worst Rafe and Charlie have to worry about.
Government radicals are devoted to silencing the last witness to the cause of the plague by
killing everyone who worked in that facility– including Rafe and Charlie.

Rafe must do everything he can to keep Charlie hidden. But the chances of them surviving in the
wild alone are slim… especially while being tracked down by American mercenaries.
Only the strong will remain. To outlast the plague, they must stay ALIVE.

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As a child, Courtney always had aspirations of being a writer. She participated in journalism in
school. At home, she wrote short stories, poetry and filled diary pages. Somewhere along the line
becoming an adult took priority over her writing and she went to work in business operations.
Now as a mother to three beautiful children, she tells them all the time to follow their dreams, be
whatever they want. Those lessons reminded her how much she loved writing. She finally

opened the door to making writing a real priority in her life.

Living outside of Portland, Oregon she loves the green and beauty Oregon offers. When she’s not
matching wits with her children, her crazy Siberian Husky or her bi-polar cats, she enjoys binge

reading, hikes and touring wineries. Courtney and her husband, the love of her life, enjoy
traveling the world whenever they can get a free moment. And cruises….she loves cruising. She’s
especially fond of life, laughter and sarcasm – and she’s excited to share all of that and more with
her readers!

Author Interview With Courtney Konstantin by Itsy Bitsy Book

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Washed Up Royal by Kim Karr

Washed Up Royal by Kim Karr is your next MUST READ! AVAILABLE NOW, you won’t want to miss this royal sensation!

Amazon — https://amzn.to/2EFQ4Zr FREE with #KindleUnlimited

A simple notification turns my world upside down… The tabloids are reporting, I’ve taken the crown and run. Not entirely true. As you might have guessed, I’m not an ordinary girl and I don’t lead an ordinary life, But that doesn’t mean I always follow the rules. This time, though, I feel compelled to obey. Which means I have to find a king, To sit alongside my throne, Or lose it all. With only the clothes on my back, I head to the land of majestic playboys, Where a royal rebel strides right into my life. With his sultry eyes and sinful lips, He turns my world right-side up. The press is calling him washed up. I think he’s anything but. Gorgeous, sexy, irresistible, And utterly charming, He’s exactly what I’m looking for. Everything is almost too perfect, Too easy. Until I discover, This hot-blooded royal has a reason for being here. And it’s more than just me. That thing I said about easy, Turns out… Nothing ever is. My royal rebel has a name, It’s Prince Adrien Laurent. This is our story.     About the Author: Reader * Chocolate Lover * Writer * Coffee Lover * Romantic * Beach Lover * Yoga Beginner Kim Karr is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of eighteen novels. Best known for writing sexy contemporary love stories, she enjoys bringing flawed characters to life and creating romances that are page worthy. Her stories are raw, real, and explosive. Her characters will make you laugh, make you cry, make you feel. And her happily-ever-afters are always swoon worthy. From the brooding rock star to the arrogant millionaire to the Football Player. From the witty damsel-in-distress to the sassy high-powered businesswoman to the boutique owner. No two storylines are ever alike. If Kim’s not writing, you can find her wandering through antique stores with her husband, trying out new fitness classes with her sons, venturing out to new coffee shops with her daughter, or with her nose stuck in a book. Link with Kim! Website: http://www.authorkimkarr.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimKarr Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorkimkarr Instagram: https://instagram.com/authorkimkarr/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6644044.Kim_Karr Amazon: http://amzn.to/2k8QjDi Newsletter:
Release Blitz

Deal Makers by Laura Lee

Title: Deal Makers
Series: Dealing With Love #3 (interconnected standalone)
Author: Laura Lee
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: January 4, 2019
Cover Design: JLD Designs
I’VE OFFICIALLY SCREWED THE POOCH. 
I mean, not literally, because that would be disgusting. But I did break one of the cardinal rules of Bro Code, which is equally appalling. You see, I fell in love with my best friend’s sister after he explicitly forbid me to go near her. As if that weren’t bad enough, I went ahead and married her while sh*tfaced in Vegas. 
I know that I should get an annulment and forget the whole thing ever happened, despite the fact that our wedding night was the hottest thing I’ve ever experienced. 
The last thing I should do is go back for seconds. 
Or thirds. 
Or…you get the point. 
And what I definitely shouldn’t do, is say f*ck the consequences and give this marriage a real shot. 
But here’s the problem with that: I’m pretty sure that Charlotte Harris is the one. And if that’s the case, nothing is going to keep me away from her. Not even her brother. 
*Deal Makers is filled with lots of laughs, drunken shenanigans, and a sexy romance. It is the third installment in the Dealing With Love series but each one can be read as a standalone.
CHARLEE
Why is my bra hanging off the lamp?
I stare at the lacy red garment in disbelief. That is not the lamp from my hotel room, which means I’m in some rando’s bed. A quick peek under the covers confirms that I am, in fact, naked as the day I was born. Also, a freakishly large hand is covering my right breast.
Why is a stranger pawing my boob?
I wiggle away from the offending hand as I try recalling the events from last night. Despite my best efforts, the only thing my brain will produce is a blur of shots lining a bar and…Lady Gaga? Goddamn, how much did I drink? My head feels like all seven dwarfs are tunneling through my skull. And my mouth tastes like ass. Not that I’ve ever tasted ass, but you know what I mean. Nausea rolls through me as I gather the courage to roll over and see what I’m dealing with here.
Oh.
Okay, ignoring the fact that I had sex with a complete stranger, maybe it’s not so bad. The mystery man’s face is buried beneath a fluffy white pillow but the parts that I can see are quite nice. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy with so little body fat in real life—his biceps are probably bigger than my freaking head. As I take in the thick tribal tattoo winding around his upper arm, I get a sudden flash of tracing that ink with soft kisses.
Whoa.  
Continuing my perusal, little bits and pieces come back to me. This guy’s bronzed chest is ridiculously wide and his abs are chiseled all the way down to a very lickable V. I should know, because my tongue was all over it last night. My lips turn up in the corner when I see the beginnings of a neatly trimmed patch of hair. I’ve always appreciated a man that keeps up with his pube maintenance. Nobody wants to suck on hairy balls. Just sayin’.
In case you’re wondering, mystery man’s balls are smooth as a baby’s bottom.
God, why can’t I remember anything other than getting freaky with a faceless stranger?
Is that a nipple ring? Damn. I can’t say I’ve given it much thought before, but that tiny little barbell is hot. The stark white sheet is resting over his package but there’s a considerable bulge beneath the cotton. Plus, if the thing poking me in the ass when I woke up is any indication, this guy is hung.
One little peek won’t hurt, right?
I mean, it’s not like I haven’t seen it before. It’s totally for science—maybe it will trigger another memory. I pinch the sheet between my thumb and forefinger, lifting it just enough to get a look-see-loo.
Wow.
Let’s just say my soreness makes perfect sense now. Also, that memory triggering thing did a bang-up job, because now I know that I somehow fit that anaconda in my mouth. Huh. Maybe I’ve recently learned how to unhinge my jaw.
Jesus.
I guess if you’re going to have a drunken one-night-stand, a nice body and big dick isn’t a bad way to do it, right?
I drop the sheet when the giant next to me groans and rolls to his other side. Shit, I need to stop ogling him and get out of here before he wakes up. I carefully slide out of bed and slink across the floor to the crumpled pile of black fabric. With the dress clenched in my hand, I crawl over to the sitting room and crouch behind a chair to pull it over my head. My panties are MIA so it’s going to be a little drafty, but I’m more concerned about getting out of here unnoticed than searching for them. I can’t bear the thought of leaving my favorite bra behind though, so I risk returning to the bedroom before I go. As I carefully untangle the straps from the lampshade, something on the opposite nightstand catches my eye.
What the hell?
No longer giving any fucks about my stealth, I run to the other side of the bed and grab the cheesy cardboard frame. There’s an eight-by-ten picture inside, of me and a beast of a man, smiling like circus clowns, standing in front of a Lady Gaga impersonator.
Well, that explains that.
If this is the same man lying in that bed—which by his sheer size alone, I’m assuming so—then, the faceless stranger isn’t so faceless anymore, nor is he a stranger. I’m not sure if that makes this situation better or worse though. Why can’t I recall anything? And why am I holding a little bouquet of flowers?I flip the frame over and almost vomit on the spot when I see the logo imprinted on the back.
Hunk of Burning Love Wedding Chapel
Las Vegas, Nevada
Taped to the back is a folded piece of paper. I open it with trembling hands, hoping and praying that I did not do what I think I did last night. I squeeze my eyes shut when I catch a glimpse, willing the words on the paper to change. I open my eyes and look again, but no such luck. I’ve officially become a cliché.
“What in the ever-loving fuck happened last night?!” I shout.
The hulking man groans again from beneath his pillow. I go to rip it off his face, but pause when the sunlight catches the little gold band wrapped around my finger. More specifically, the fourth finger on my left hand. When did that get there? Oh yeah, it must’ve been when I got freaking MARRIED!
I grab the pillow and begin whacking my apparent husband in the face repeatedly.
“Ow! What the fuck?” he screams.
I throw the pillow across the room. “‘What the fuck?!’ What the fuck,is right! This has to be your fault, you stupid asshole!”
“Charlee?”  He blinks his eyes rapidly, clearing the sleep fog. “Why in the hell are you in my room? And why are you beating the shit out of me?”
“That’s a great question, Drew!Why the fuck am I in your hotel room?”
The big oaf grins widely as he takes me in. It’s pretty obvious that I’m wearing a walk-of-shame dress. I’m sure my wild hair isn’t helping matters either.
“Did we hook up last night? Damn, I really wish I could remember that.”
The picture frame bounces off his beefy chest when I chuck it at him. “Oh, we did a helluva lot more than that, you idiot!”
He scrubs a hand over his face before picking up the evidence of my living nightmare. It takes a few seconds for it to register, but once he too, realizes what we did, his eyes widen and his jaw falls slack.
“Holy shit.”
Yeah, holy shit, indeed.
I just married my brother’s best friend.
Laura’s passion has always been storytelling. She spent most of her life with her nose in a book thinking of alternate endings or continuations to the story. She won her first writing contest at the ripe old age of nine, earning a trip to the state capital to showcase her manuscript. Thankfully for her, those early works will never see the light of day again! 
Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her wonderful husband, two beautiful children, and three of the most poorly behaved cats in existence. She likes her fruit smoothies filled with rum, her cupboards stocked with Cadbury’s chocolate, and her music turned up loud. When she’s not writing or watching HGTV, she’s reading anything she can get her hands on. She’s a sucker for spicy romances, especially those involving vampires, bad boys, or cowboys!
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