Date Published: March 1st 2021
Publisher: Happy London Press
A church going district of North London and a neighbourhood where friendly residents know each other. But when a brutally murdered woman is found next to a burned-out black candle, a strange mark etched deep into her back, the locals became afraid.
Her old boss, a Chief Superintendent in the Met, calls for PI, Tammy Pierre’s assistance. He’s aware of her Caribbean links, and knowledge of Obiah, a voodoo curse found in Trinidad, and used, some claim, to commit bizarre murders. So, is it voodoo? Or just superstition?
A trip to the West Indies reveals some disturbing facts, new evidence of child abuse and murders going undetected for over twenty years.
Returning to London, her situation becomes dangerous – is it all more than Tammy had bargained for?
About the Author
Having never written a dramatic word in my life some thirty years ago, an idea for a short story popped into my head. With the encouragement of my wife and daughter I wrote a tale about a timid and ineffectual man and his pet cat, called Cat and Mouse. Wife and daughter approved so I produced more stories and then joined a writers’ group who also liked what I wrote.
Sir George Everest said, they climbed that mountain, ‘Because it is there.’ The same might be said of writing. Why do we write? because of the idea, the notion, the thought. ‘Because it is there,’ and the irresistible urge to put it down in print.
My inspirations have come from real people, events or situations that have presented themselves. Titles like, I am a Contract Killer, Beads of Blood, Death Zone, License to Kill, are all based on my own lifetime experiences, questions asked, incidents occurring. So far, nobody has been murdered on my watch. But the notion gave rise to the impetus to write my first murder mystery, The Lyme Regis Murders. Could I make the jump after years of writing macabre short stories to a full-length drama? That familiar beating in the gut, said, ‘Yes, try it. Give it a go.’
And so to that cosy coastal town where nothing untoward ever happens. Or perhaps it does. The author seeks to shatter notions, change people’s perceptions, spoil long held views. That was my intention in entering into the world of crime thrillers. I’ve found that ‘nice’ people are not always what they seem. The helpless can be transformed into the most dangerous, the most dangerous become the most harmless. It’s all up to the writer and what they’re hoping to achieve. For me, so far, there have been several children’s books, one collection of short stories, with three more planned and three novels completed, plus a fourth in the mixer.
Whilst a short story might be written with a flurry of adrenalin in the space of a few hours, a book will need more than just a flash of creativity. It will need, perseverance, discipline and dogged determination. But then, isn’t that what is required of every ambition?
Date Published: March 9, 2021
Publisher: Ink & Magick
What is the price of justice?
As a ward of the Lacklands, Robyn Loxley has lived a privileged life. Even now, in 1942, when another war ravages the world and people on the home front must do without, her adopted family is not affected by the rations and shortages.
That’s not to say she hasn’t been affected by the war personally. As Robyn hits yet another roadblock in her quest to see her best friend Will, trapped in a Japanese-American concentration camp, she stumbles onto the people of Sherwood.
With dark truths revealed about the Lacklands and what really goes on in Midshire, Robyn must answer what justice means to her and what she’s willing to do to exact it.
Robyn and the merry band get an update in this dieselpunk sci-fi adventure.
About the Author
D. Lieber has a wanderlust that would make a butterfly envious. When she isn’t planning her next physical adventure, she’s recklessly jumping from one fictional world to another. Her love of reading led her to earn a Bachelor’s in English from Wright State University.
Beyond her skeptic and slightly pessimistic mind, Lieber wants to believe. She has been many places—from Canada to England, France to Italy, Germany to Russia—believing that a better world comes from putting a face on “other.” She is a romantic idealist at heart, always fighting to keep her feet on the ground and her head in the clouds.
Lieber lives in Wisconsin with her husband (John) and cats (Yin and Nox).
Book Title: Blood Red Roses
Author: S. J. Coles
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, Mystery, Thriller
Trope/s: Valentines, Opposites Attract, Love Triangle, Fake Relationship, Rich v Poor
Themes: Accepting yourself, Aspiration, Learning what’s important, Trust
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 47 220 words/192 pages
It is a standalone story.
It is part of a collection being released by Pride Publishing,
that will all get released at the same time.
Rick feels like he’s finally getting his life on track…until a dead body in his flat threatens to derail more than his new career.
Things are finally looking up for Rick Bennett. He’s landed a job with Swanson and Gerrard, one of the top finance firms in London and, with it, a chance to pay off his father’s debts and finally make something of his life.
When he’s put in charge of brokering the biggest deal in the company’s history, he knows he can’t lose, even though his boss, Cecily Swanson, clearly wants more than just a professional relationship.
When a rich, handsome stranger, Kim Bailey, introduces himself to Rick at the Swansons’ New Year’s Eve party, Rick is thinking he can definitely get used to rubbing elbows with the upper set. He feels everything is finally working out, despite Cecily’s increasing interest that only seems to strengthen as they approach her high-profile Valentine’s Day wedding.
When someone is murdered in his flat, Rick is shocked but still determined to hold on to his dream. Cecily believes he’s innocent and, more importantly, so does Kim. Though he’s beginning to suspect that there’s more to the guy than meets the eye, Kim’s belief in Rick keeps him strong.
As the investigation continues and Rick finds himself buried deeper in a mess of conspiracy, betrayal and intrigue, he will come to wonder whether the life he’s dreamed of could ever be real.
He’d deleted and re-phrased the text three times by the time he’d got his keys in the front door. He shook his head to himself. He was acting like a teenager again. But everything else was coming together just right. He may be working ten-hour days for a woman he would eventually have to let down, and still couldn’t entirely stop thinking about the envelope in his desk drawer, but it finally felt like his life was coming together.
He wanted to make dating Kim part of that life. He’d never felt the potential of something so early on in a relationship before, especially when he knew so little about the person. But when he thought of Kim’s light, easy manner and the way he treated Rick like an equal without appearing to even have to think about it, something that wasn’t just lust stirred under his belly.
Of course, the striking, beautiful face, devilish smile and sleek, toned body didn’t hurt matters. He tantalised himself with the thought that tonight they might get to—
Rick switched on his living room light and froze. The new sofa was positioned at right angles to his glass coffee table and smart TV. His boxes of vinyl were stacked against the far wall and his running shoes were by the front door. Everything was as he’d left it that morning, but something was…off. There was a chill in the air. And an odd smell.
He moved forward, trying to identify what was causing unease to snake up his spine. A draught brushed against his face. He moved to the balcony door and found it was open a crack. He frowned. Had the handyman left it open? Why would he even open it on this freezing January day? He slid it shut, turning the key in the lock.
The smell was stronger in the kitchen. He frowned. His breakfast plate was in the sink but he’d only had time for toast so that didn’t explain the sickly-sweet, almost meaty, smell in the air. It was then he noticed his block of chefs’ knives was on its side, the knives spilling out onto the counter. He righted it and returned the knives to their slots. There were two missing. He turned, scanning the kitchen and froze.
About the Author
S.J. Coles is a Romance writer originally from Shropshire, UK. She has been writing stories for as long as she has been able to read them. Her biggest passion is exploring narratives through character relationships.
She finds writing LGBT/paranormal romance provides many unique and fulfilling opportunities to explore many (often neglected or under-represented) aspects of human experience, expectation, emotion and sexuality.
Among her biggest influences are LGBT Romance authors K J Charles and Josh Lanyon and Vampire Chronicles author Anne Rice.
Modern Day Shaman® Find a Deeper Connection to Life
Memoir/Personal Development/Spiritual Growth/Shamanism
Date Published: 5th January 2021
This very personal and deeply engaging book details the extraordinary spiritual journey of Sarah Ann Negus, the Modern Day Shaman®. It reveals how she allowed her spiritual gifts to shine through, so she can help other people in the world to find theirs. Her first book helps you to master your energy and to ‘see in the dark’, unshackling past conditioning and believing in the realms of infinite possibilities, so you can be the best version of yourself possible, both personally and professionally.
The key messages of her timely book, revealing to the world the true essence of how we are all shaman, is beautifully depicted in the numerous standalone quotations from the author, which add depth and richness to the reader’s experience, as demonstrated below.
“Lasting change and personal growth are found
when you commit to all of you; mind, body and spirit.”
“This is not the truth.
It is my truth.
Take what touches your heart and leave the rest.”
“Never be afraid of the dark.
Without it there is no light.”
“This book is dedicated to you.
May you find your way.”
The author tells her true story of her personal spiritual and shamanic journey warts and all, through a series of exceptionally refreshing visual and engaging stories, accounts and reflections from her lived experience. It is true life, told as it was. She says that her purpose for writing her first book for other people is to:
- inspire them to look within themselves for answers;
- offer them the understanding that they are not alone;
- show them they are powerful in their own right and can change their lives; and
- offer simple practical tools that will help anyone to explore their own inner world and energy.
Sarah is the Modern Day Shaman®. She works with highly successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives and high- flying start-ups to help them find consistent successful growth in their lives. With 22 years of experience in the field of energy, and a lifetime of entrepreneurial highs and lows, Sarah brings a unique take on business.
She invites her clients to widen their vision, to think differently and shows them how to access their dreams in real-time. What sounds impossible and implausible is not.
Sarah experienced her spiritual awakening over 22 years ago while searching for a more meaningful and impactful way to live her life. She then set out on a 12-year shamanic apprenticeship journey, travelling to Peru and studying with the Shamans of the Amazon forest.
Over the years, Sarah mastered her craft and today she brings the power of ancient shamanism to modern visionaries and leaders, helping them to fully embody their highest potential. Sarah is a Modern Day Shaman®️ Extraordinaire.
Sarah works with highly successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives and high-flying start-ups to help them create consistent success and growth in their lives. With over two decades of experience in the field of energy, and a lifetime of entrepreneurial highs and lows, Sarah brings a unique take on business.
About the Author
Sarah Ann Negus is a modern-day shaman. She grew up in South London and has spent her life finding out who she really is. Her journey of discovery, in this her first book, takes you from lost to found in the most alternative of ways. Sarah’s experience was not easy, but she believes that coming home to your true self does not have to be a fight or a struggle.
As a child she learned that not everyone saw what she did, and she hid her gifts. Coming back to them as an adult, she slowly remembered her purpose and promised to share them.
Sarah runs a successful mentoring and public speaking business working with entrepreneurs and executives who understand their energy is a powerful driving force for growth, both personally and professionally. She facilitates an altered state of consciousness for her clients which allows them to observe themselves and the world differently as a result. They take actions from a new belief system, which empowers them to achieve what they previously believed was impossible. Her clients typically say; “This has been life-changing”.
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Copper Lining by Christy Pastore is LIVE!
Life isn’t all mai tais, coconut cupcakes and the big “O,” but it should be.
I met Wes on a beach in Hawaii. Tall, tan, unruly blond hair and don’t even get me started on that gritty southern accent.
To the locals, he was Wes, “The manta ray whisperer.” To me, he was an infuriating, too young for me surfer dude.
But that didn’t stop me from falling into bed with him.
Being with Wes was thrilling, but he’s all wrong for me. All wrong for my life. After our week was over, I snuck out of his beach house without a goodbye. I was never going to see him again, right?
How wrong I was when I walked into Cardwell Bourbon a few months later to find
Weston Cardwell and those smoldering green eyes staring at me from across a conference table.
Working together will be a challenge. His family is counting on me to save their bourbon empire.
Wes and I have nothing in common except for our hot for each other chemistry—it’s hotter than the copper lining in a bourbon barrel.
But that’s the thing about copper, it’s an effective heat conductor—maybe too effective.
Wes leans into me. “Let’s get out of here.” The scruff of his jawline temps me. I want to feel it between my legs.
“Yeah. What do you say to no strings? No promises. One night and then we’re done. You get what you want, and I get laid.”
I cock a brow. “You’re arrogant.”
“I prefer confident. I’ll give you everything you want,” he says, the whisper of his promise slides right over my ear and down to my toes.
The next thing I know, he drags me off my barstool and onto the lanai of the restaurant. Wes pins me between a palm tree and a decorative surfboard. The railing claws at my back as his fingers dig into my hips.
“When you said, let’s get out of here, I thought you meant like your place or mine.”
His mouth curls into a devious smile. “This is just the beginning.”
My mind races again. I picture Wes being intense and fast. I’ve been with two men since my divorce. The first guy wouldn’t let me take his shirt off. Red flags flew up everywhere.
I couldn’t have an orgasm because all I kept thinking about was his chest. What was he hiding underneath? The various images of him showering and swimming with a shirt on passed through my mind.
The second guy was a fumbling, bumbling mess. Absolutely no finesse. He didn’t know his way around a vagina to save his life. It was sloppy and disappointing.
Wes leans in closer and I lick my lips. The air crackles around us. My body vibrates with heat as the anticipation churns through me. I’m helpless to the spell he has over me.
“Minka,” he whispers, and one hand comes up to cup my cheek. My dress feels like sandpaper against my skin.
“One night,” I tell him. Fisting his shirt and drawing him closer.
“One night,” he repeats. Wes’ lips move over mine and the deep low rumbling in his chest sends me over the edge right into the abyss.
The moment my lips touch his, his hands slide up my back, coming to a stop and tangling in my hair.
His mouth claims mine over and over. It’s an extraordinary, dangerous lust that can only be described as combustible.
Oh god, it is the most insanely beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. Wes knows how to kiss.
Meet The Author:
International Bestselling Author and self-proclaimed french fry addict, Christy Pastore writes sexy, contemporary romance books that contain no nonsense (mostly) heroines and swoony gentleman with a naughty side. Readers so overwhelmingly embraced one Wicked Gentleman, Jackson Hart specifically, turning many of her #AuthorGoals into a reality.
When Christy’s not turning her risqué thoughts into something worth reading, you’ll find her geeking out on all things pop culture, obsessively stalking Pinterest for home interior ideas, lunching with friends, or researching her next vacation destination.
She has strong opinions about folding laundry, fruity wines, the Oxford Comma, fashion, and mixed vegetables.
Christy lives in central Indiana with her husband and their two loveable ginger kitties, Cheeto and Dorito. But as cute as they are, please send scratching posts asap because they’re slowly destroying the furniture.
To be the first to know of upcoming releases, please join Christy’s Newsletter (Always Spam Free).
18 1/2 Disguises: A Romantic Comedy Mystery (Maizie Albright Star Detective) by Larissa Reinhart
About 18 1/2 Disguises
18 1/2 Disguises: A Romantic Comedy Mystery (Maizie Albright Star Detective) Cozy Mystery 7th in Series Publisher: Past Perfect Press (February 2, 2021) Digital – ASIN: B08M6J7Y39 Number of Pages ~320
MAIZIE’S AFTER A COSTUMER’S KILLER WHO’S SEW EVIL, IT’S SHEAR MADNESS…
#DisguisedDetectiving Maizie Albright might have once played a (teenage) private investigator on TV, but she’s now living the part. Her (mother’s) name is on her business cards. Her (boss’s) appointment book is brimming with new clients. And her bank account has grown large enough to finally trade in her dirt bike for an actual new (pre-owned) vehicle.
And then there’s Wyatt Nash. Love of her life. Future father of her…
And then there’s Wyatt Nash. Future partner in her business. Because Nash is now working for her father. Not the private investigation business that’s waiting for Nash to get out of the red so they can get on with…
Just what, Maizie isn’t so sure.
But she is sure about one thing. She’s ready to take on her own cases. To prove to (herself) her friends and family, she’s more than just a (washed-up actress) assistant private eye. And when Maizie finds her costume designer friend killed during a masquerade gala, it’s the opportunity Maizie hoped she’d never get. An investigation into an old friend’s murder. One that’s put her new friend, Rhonda, in jeopardy.
While the police begin their inquiries, Maizie starts her own case. She’s needling Black Pine’s wealthy do-gooders, threading through lies, stitching together clues, and ripping out false leads. Her investigation may cost Maizie her job, her relationships, and her life. But by unspooling the truth, Maizie’s darned if they stop her from catching a killer who’s sew evil, it’s shear madness.
About Larissa ReinhartVisit Larissa’s website to join her VIP Readers email group and get the free prequel to The Cupid Caper plus other exclusive bonus content! http://www.larissareinhart.com A Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Larissa writes the award-winning Cherry Tucker Mystery, Maizie Albright Star Detective, and Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series. She loves to tell funny stories about women, looking for love (and dead bodies) in all the wrong places. Larissa, her family, and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, lived in Nagoya, Japan, but have returned to Peachtree City, Georgia. You can see them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Larissa loves books, food, and traveling with her family. You can often see her adventures on Instagram (and her little dog, too). The Cherry Tucker Mystery Series in reading order: A CHRISTMAS QUICK SKETCH (prequel novella) PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW HIJACK IN ABSTRACT THE VIGILANTE VIGNETTE (Halloween novella) DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE A VIEW TO A CHILL A COMPOSITION IN MURDER A MOTHERLODE OF TROUBLE (in YEAR-LONG TROUBLE anthology) The Maizie Albright Star Detective series in reading order: 15 MINUTES –First in series (15 MINUTES) is free during COVID. 16 MILLIMETERS NC-17 A VIEW TO A CHILL 17.5 CARTRIDGES IN A PEAR TREE 18 CALIBER (2020) 19 CRIMINALS (2021) Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series: Pig’N a Poke (for newsletter subscribers only) THE CUPID CAPER THE PONY PREDICAMENT (2020) THE HEIR AFFAIR (2021)
Social Media Links:Website: http://larissareinhart.com/ VIP Readers: https://www.larissareinhart.com/larissasreaders Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLarissaReinhart/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/larissareinhartwriter Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mysteryminions/ Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/larissa-reinhart Goodreads: http://smarturl.it/LarissaGoodreads Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/LarissaReinhart/ Purchase links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js TOUR PARTICIPANTS February 2 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog– SPOTLIGHT February 3 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT February 3 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT February 4 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW February 5 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST February 6 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT February 7 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT February 8 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST February 8 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT February 9 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW February 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book -SPOTLIGHT February 10 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW February 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT WITH RECIPE February 12 – My Reading Journeys– REVIEW February 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT February 13 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT Have you signed up to be a Tour Host? Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today! Additional Banners
Love’s Curse by Ellen Mint Perfect Duet by Aliyah Burke
General Release Date: 2nd February 2021
Valentine’s Day isn’t all about chocolates and roses…this year, it’s deadly. These stories are set around the most romantic day of the year, with characters who might just have to fight for their lives as well as their loves.CONTEMPORARY, EROTIC ROMANCE, THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE, VALENTINES CONTEMPORARY, EROTIC ROMANCE,THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE,VALENTINES
Choose Your Store
Get them on First For Romance
About the Authorshere and also on Bookbub. here. She can also be found on Facebook or Twitter: @AliyahBurke96. And Pinterest. If you would like to be kept abreast of what’s going on in the world of Aliyah, you can sign up to her newsletter here.
Title: Is This
Author: Tricia Copeland
Genre: NA Romance
Cover Designer: Dark Unicorn Designs
Publisher: true bird publishing llc
Publication Date: Feb. 1st, 2021
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR
She had it all planned out. But her freshman year goes off-course on the very first night…
New student Amanda Avery would rather have her nose in a book than a drink in her hand. So when her best friend drags her to a frat party, she knows her GPA will appreciate the hot guy giving her the cold shoulder. But when their paths collide on the volleyball court, she’s left with a debilitating injury that jeopardizes her studies.
With her scholarship on the line, Amanda has no choice but to accept recovery aid from the same hottie who turned her down. Though she endeavors to keep up appearances, she struggles with academic pressure and a growing friendship with her dreamy caregiver. And it doesn’t help that his buddy is trying so hard to win her over…
Can Amanda survive the turmoil of college and come out with her heart intact?
Is This Me? is the first book in the fun and fresh Being Me clean new adult series. If you like believable characters, emotional coming-of-age stories, and sweet romance, then you’ll love Tricia Copeland’s poignant tale.
Download Is This Me? to figure out this love triangle today!
“I love it!!! I found myself wanting to kick Doug, or shake Amanda, or just give Zack a hug …I can’t wait to find out what happens next!!!
“It was remarkably easy to get caught up in Amanda’s world. … Through the authors’ use of vivid details and imagery, the reader truly feels the joy, as well as the agony that Amanda experiences…”
-Sara, Atlanta, Georgia
“I seriously could NOT put it down! The writing was so impressive it really felt like I was on the journey with Amanda through the beginning of her college life. This book was funny and angsty. I really enjoyed it.. I read this book in one sitting, I was up til 2am reading! …I love that I can really feel her pain, heartache, joy and happiness. A very easy 5 stars given!”
An avid runner and Georgia native, Tricia now lives with her family and four-legged friends in Colorado. She believes that magic infuses every aspect of our lives, whether it is the magic of falling in love, discovering a new passion, a beautiful sunset, or a book that transports us to another world. You can find all her titles from contemporary romance and fantasy, to dystopian fiction at www.triciacopeland.com.
“I need to change?” I looked at my outfit as we got off the elevator. I’d just changed before dinner, and I thought I’d done a pretty good job.
“Tomorrow they have to clean for the alumni barbecue, so this will be one of the biggest parties of the year. All the brothers and potentials will be there.”
I had no clue what potentials were, and my hope for an intimate hang out with Mark, Lila, and Ross vanished like a puff of smoke.
In my room, Lila browsed through my closet. Finding something awesome to wear really meant she would choose what she wanted me to wear. This was a long tradition in our friendship, and I didn’t fight it. She always looked great, although sometimes a little risqué for my tastes. I’d learned how to make her happy without sacrificing my standards. Picking an outfit from the many choices Marissa had added would just give me a headache anyway.
Lila held up a pair of jeans and a skirt. I pointed to the jeans and she frowned. She was constantly trying to get me to wear more skirts. Pants helped my legs look longer. Only reaching five-two, looking taller always equaled better in my book. In the end, Lila threw a dark pair of skinny jeans, a spaghetti-strapped blue top, and strappy wedge sandals at me as she walked out the door. I dressed and touched up my makeup and hair. She returned not minutes later, in a short dress and wedges. Looking in the mirror, she added darker liner and shadow to my eyes.
Taking the elevator down to the lobby, she opened an app on her phone. “You have to get on this. It’s the best way to get a ride.”
After sitting in the car half the day, walking was more appealing to me. In my heels I’d probably only make it two blocks, so I followed her lead. “Are you sure about this? Is it safe?”
“Sure, I’ve been doing it forever.”
“You never did it in Champaign.”
She rolled her eyes. “Okay, well since I came here. We’re not going to end up in a dumpster. Well I’m not, you’re the one with bad luck.” She handed me her phone with the company’s safety information.
“If we’re going by the superstition that bad luck comes in threes, I’m done.”
“You’re counting Law?”
“Course.” These days I was counting every incident I could to believe I was finished with my run of bad luck. I scrolled through the safety information and realized it was totally legit. I passed her phone back to her.
“See, your dad’s got you paranoid.”
“Isn’t it expensive?”
“How much do you make tutoring? Twenty-five an hour, right? This is five bucks and the bus will take an hour on the weekend.”
A car pulled up, and she opened the door and waved me in. The driver routed through the deserted main campus. The streets and lawns grew more crowded as we neared the Greek houses.
I fidgeted with my necklace, and Lila batted my hand from my neck. “You met a good number of the guys this summer. You remember Bill, right?”
“Sure.” I reminded myself that one reason for coming to school here was to meet new people.
Lila paid the driver, and we took a narrow path that ran along the side of the building to the back of the house. Mark and Ross were playing volleyball in the sandpit, and we greeted them with a wave. Mark was a great player and loved the game. He’d tried, mostly in vain, to improve my skills over the summer.
As we sat on the grass to watch the match, a yellow lab lumbered over to me and rubbed against my legs. I patted her head and she curled up at my feet. If Kate counted, I’d made my second new friend.
The guys made the game look easy, expending little effort in lofting the ball back and forth over the net. I recognized Bill from this summer. Two exceptionally tall guys on his team stood out, and I could’ve watched them play all night.
Defeated by Bill’s team, Mark and Ross sauntered over to where we were sitting. Mark collapsed on top of my outstretched legs, displacing the dog who circled behind me.
“Eww, sweaty boy!” I tried to push him off, but it was like pushing against a brick wall. I gave up. “Decent game, you only lost by three.” He rolled off, standing to replace his shirt.
Bill and the taller guys from the other team approached us, retrieving their shirts from the lawn. Mark motioned them towards me. “Hey, you guys should meet Amanda.”
I stood quickly, fighting the urge to brush away any grass that might be clinging to my pants.
“Hi, I’m Bill. We met this summer.”
“Right, good game.” I shook his outstretched hand.
“Thanks.” He motioned towards the house. “Sorry, I need some water.”
“This is Doug, our president,” Mark continued.
Still shirtless, Doug held out his hand towards me. Purposely making eye contact, I slid my hand into his.
“Avery, right, your dad’s an alum.”
With olive skin and dark wavy hair, my Bubbe would’ve said he was Greek. But she had a thing for Greeks. He sported a perfect five o’clock shadow, and his deep blue eyes were focused on me. I forced myself to concentrate.
“Right.” I nodded not knowing what else to say. My face felt like it was engulfed in flames. Seriously, couldn’t Mark have waited to introduce us until after they had their shirts on?
“And this is Zack,” Mark pointed to the super tall blond beside Doug. “He’s our VP.”