Release Blitz

Serving the Wicked

Serving the Wicked by Wendi Zwaduk

Book 3 in the The Refuge series

Word Count: 26,027 Book Length: NOVELLA Pages: 109 Heat Rating: Sizzling Sexometer: 2

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY EROTIC ROMANCE FANTASY PARANORMAL VAMPIRES

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Book Description

A scared human plus a vampire with a secret. Things could be better, but they could be a lot worse. Raine can’t remember time before the darkness. She’s a human in a paranormal world where humans are a commodity, not people, and she’s been abused by the vampires. When she ends up at the slave auction, she fears her nightmare will never end. Enter Casey. He’s part vampire, part Fae, dangerous and only has eyes for Raine. He saw her at the BDSM club before she entered the vampire slave world and he swore he’d rescue her. He buys her the instant he sees her on the stage. The innocence in her eyes, combined with the sweetness in her soul calls to him. He wants her to serve him in the bedroom and be his partner everywhere. She’s been hurt, and he’s a born protector. Can they make the attraction last and turn it into something eternal or will the fear win out? Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, fighting and death, as well as references to forced sex and feeding from humans.

Excerpt

“Line up,” the man shouted. “I don’t want to have to sell you again.” He tapped his cane on the floor. “Go. I hate trying to resell used merch.” Raine winced. She wasn’t merch. She was a human being. The vampires didn’t see her as anyone but a thing. All they wanted to do was drain humans and kill Fae. She clutched the open side of her dress to retain a bit of her modesty. Once on the stage, she’d have to strip so the buyers could look her over. She averted her gaze. Humans had no choice but to be sold to the highest bidder. “Go.” The man whacked her on the ass with the cane. She crept onto the stage and gritted her teeth. She couldn’t look into the audience. One girl had been hauled off and killed for doing so. The buyers were all seated in the dark, and she’d be in the bright spotlight. Another man, one with a spray can, walked up to her. He painted the number three on her bare chest. She winced again. It’d taken her two days to remove the paint the last time she’d been up for sale, and her skin had been raw from the scrubbing. Worst of all? She hadn’t been sold. The first two girls were described, and Raine fought the instinct to shiver. Her turn was next. “Look at number three. She’s a little thicker than most humans. It means she’s got juicy thick blood. She’s trained. Won’t speak out,” the announcer said. She flattened her palms on her thighs. God. She wasn’t a person any longer. The announcer grabbed the front of her dress, tearing it the rest of the way open. She couldn’t help the shudder. “Enough, girl.” The announcer slapped her. “No one wants to buy a wimp.” Someone grunted, and the announcer closed her dress. “How much? She’s been here before, so she’s got miles on her.” Her stomach churned. Miles… No one shouted out numbers. She clutched the front of her dress. God. Would someone give a price? Anything? The silence deafened her. All she wanted to do was get out of the spotlight. “I’ll give you five thousand for number three.” A dark-haired man strode up to the stage. His hair glinted in the light. “Cash.” She shouldn’t have looked up, but he’d given a price. He did have nice hair—as much of it as she could see. “Number three?” the announcer asked. “Don’t you want to wait for number four or take number two? For so much money?” Did the announcer have to be such a jerk? Someone wanted her. Why was that so bad or hard to understand? “Three,” the man said. He offered the money, then held his hand out to her. Raine froze. Was she supposed to go with him? She’d never been sold like this. Her first vampire had plucked her out of a crowd of scared, lost humans. The second vampire had killed him and stolen her from a club. “Go.” The announcer nudged her. “If this fool wants you, then you’d better go before he changes his mind.” The dark-haired man helped her off the stage. He held her by her waist until her feet touched the cold tiles. She averted her gaze. The rules stated she couldn’t look at him until she’d left the building. Hopefully, he hadn’t seen her steal a glance at him earlier. The man draped his suit jacket around her shoulders and guided her out of the sales arena. “My car is over here.” She shivered again, despite the warmth of the jacket. The scent of him lingered in the rich fabric. She knew that aroma—vampire. What luck! Three vampires. Her first owner had been a dick, the second one abusive…would this one be the charm? Or the worst of the lot? He opened the car door. “Sit, please?” Please? Vampires didn’t say such things. They demanded. She hesitated and found her courage to speak. “Sir?” “So you do talk?” He laughed. “Please, sit. I want to take you home.” Raine settled on the passenger side of the car. He closed the door for her and rounded the hood. When he sat beside her, he hit the locks, preventing her from escaping. She trembled. “Trying to keep me in?” She didn’t look up from her hands. “I won’t run.” “No one said you would,” he replied. “You’re different from what I expected.” “Not good enough.” She folded her hands on her lap. “No.” He brushed her hair from her face. She flinched as he tucked the lock behind her ear. “You’re afraid of me,” he said. “Because I’m a vampire?” She couldn’t lie. If he wanted to, he could peer into her mind and read her thoughts or he could glamour her to draw the truth out. “Yes.” “I’m a nasty piece of work, but I’m not like anyone else.” He didn’t turn the engine on or raise his voice. He simply shifted around in his seat. “Look at me.” “I can’t.” She was human and considered fourth class to vampires. “You can with me.” He curled his fingers under her chin. “Please?” She couldn’t comply. Vampires demanded respect, and she needed to give it. No question. She didn’t even know his name. “I paid a lot of money for you.” He caressed her cheek. “Please look at me and tell me your name.” “You own me. You can call me whatever you want.” She wasn’t being snippy. He held all the power and the more he reminded her of her cost, the more she wanted to be sick. “I could,” he said. “But I want to know your name.” He toyed with the lock of her hair. “We need to set some rules.” Ah. Now he’d show his true colors. She braced herself for his answer. “Okay.” “First, look at me.” He continued to toy with her hair. “I might have purchased you, but I didn’t do it to own you. I wanted to get you out of that horrible auction.” She finally looked at him. Fine lines had been etched at the corners of his eyes. Flecks of silver colored his day-old whiskers and at his temples. His dark eyes sparkled, and the muscle in his jaw twitched. If he hadn’t been a vampire, she might have considered him sexy. Who was she kidding? He was sexy. But he was a vampire and vamps insisted on hurting her. “What are you going to do with me?” she murmured. “Take you home, get you some proper clothes, a shower, some food and let you rest,” he said. “When was the last time you slept?” “I don’t.” She had to keep one eye open in case the vampires attacked. “You can now. I’ll keep you safe.” He brushed his knuckles across her cheek. “I promise.” “You’re a vampire.” She frowned. “You could kill me.” “I could.” “You said you’re a nasty piece of work.” She trembled but didn’t pull away from him. His touch oddly comforted her. He could destroy her or lull her into complacency and devour her, but he hadn’t—yet. “I am.” His eyes flashed. “I could kill you right now, but I won’t.” “Why?” she blurted. “I’m sorry. I spoke out of turn.” She’d said too much for a slave. Any other vampire would’ve hit her by now for being so bold. “First, I saw you at the club. The night Lomax took you from Isaac. I watched you. I never thought Isaac deserved you, but he had the rights, and I didn’t.” He brushed his thumb across her bottom lip. “You came alive when you played with those masters. The bindings made you happy.” She shivered. He was right. She enjoyed being at the BDSM club. None of the masters fucked her, but they did spank her and play all sorts of delicious games with her. Wax, spankings, bindings and exhibiting her for all to see. But those games were by mutual consent—not the auction where she’d been forced up there against her will. “I watched you, entranced.” He smiled. “I wanted you.” “You did?” She wished she’d known that. He might not have been any better than Isaac, but he had to be a damn lot better than Lomax. “Lomax beat me to you. He saw you as food. I wanted to play.” She froze. He’d wanted her? And Lomax had screwed the situation up for them? Of course he had. He tipped his head, meeting her gaze. “I won’t kill you and I won’t lie to you, either. I want to protect you.” She didn’t know his name or that he’d seen her before, but he sounded more sincere with every word. She wanted to believe him. He’d purchased her and could do what he wanted, but a tiny shred of her trusted him. “What’s your name?” he asked. “Raine.” Raine? He liked the sound of her moniker more than the colorless number three. The name fit her—sad and pretty at the same time. Case rejoiced in the progress he’d made with her. Raine tugged his suit coat tighter around her. She said nothing, but fear radiated from her. Casey wanted to know what Lomax had done to her. The girl he’d seen at the club had been more open and free. She’d been happy. If he’d had a heart, it would’ve ached for her. He remembered the number painted on her chest. Those fucking idiots would paint the girls. He flicked his fingers, removing the paint with his magic. No one should have spray paint on their body. “Aren’t you going to ask my name?” Casey wanted to tug her into his arms and hold her until she relaxed. “No.” She didn’t move. “You’re my sir. I should address you as such.” “Will you call me by my name? I’d prefer it,” he said. “You’re not my slave.” Her eyes widened. “I didn’t pay for you to put you to work.” He engaged the engine. A ripple of knowing shot through him. No one would hurt her with him around, but that didn’t mean he wanted to draw attention to them by hanging out in the parking lot. The vampires had destroyed so much land and with the world plunged into darkness, few felt safe. He possessed means and a safe vehicle, but he didn’t want to lag about. Raine didn’t relax, but when another car passed his, she clutched his hand. “You’ll be okay.” He wanted to explain why, but what if she were repulsed by him being part Fae? He’d been ostracized by most of the vampires because of his lineage. The only reason he’d gained entry to the auction was his money. They’d take his cash and ignore his undesirable family line. She ducked down in the seat. “Will he come looking for me?” “No.” If Casey had to destroy Lomax and eviscerate him, he would. He’d enhanced the magic around his property to keep anyone from seeing he still had some magic within him. He tapped a button on the gate leading to his home and when the gate parted, he drove inside. The wards around his home provided some protection, but he insisted on the iron gate and a surveillance system as well as his shifter friend, Atell, as a guard dog. The gate closed, and he drove into the garage. Once the door had shut, Casey parked and turned off the engine. “Let me take you inside. You can eat and bathe.” She stayed in her seat. “What am I to you?” “Let’s talk inside. I can hear your stomach growling.” He left the vehicle and rounded the trunk to her side. She took his hand and allowed him to lead her into the house. “Whoa.” She gasped. “This is your house?” He needed darkness to sleep, but preferred light. He also loved nice things. He’d decorated his home to reflect his tastes. “This is mine.” “I’m going to be your cleaning lady, right?” She shied away from him. “Yes?” “No. I want a companion.” He deposited his keys and phone on the counter. “Cleaning isn’t a problem.” He opened the refrigerator, then gestured to the bar. “Sit. What would you like to eat? Anything. Just name it.” She stared at him. “Anything?” “Just tell me.” He withdrew a bottle of wine from the rack. “Drink?” “Will you make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” Did she have simple tastes or was she testing him? He poured a glass of wine for her, and a glass of water to go along with it. “Here.” He opened the fridge and created the sandwich with his magic. “And here.” Raine’s lips parted. She reached for the water glass, then hesitated. “Thank you.” “Welcome.” He smiled and sat beside her. “Call me Casey.” She downed the water in one long swallow before gobbling the sandwich. He gritted his teeth. Damn. She was a curvy girl, but she hadn’t been fed. What kind of asshole would do that to another being? “When was the last time you ate?” “Are you going to monitor how much I eat?” she asked. “No.” He’d bet had, though. “Two days ago.” “You’re serious?” “They don’t feed us every day unless we allow them to feed from us.” She tucked into herself. “Sorry.” “For what?” She hadn’t done anything to be sorry for. “Rushing.” “Don’t be.” He flattened his palms on the counter. He no longer felt the chill of the granite. He’d rather hold her than touch cold stone. Her warmth could save some piece of his destroyed soul. She stared at him. “You’re being nice to me because you feel guilty.” “I am.” He did feel guilt at not having protecting her when he’d had the chance. But he liked her and wanted to shower her with affection. “But there’s a little more to it.” “You don’t have to be nice,” she said. “I appreciate it. I haven’t had any dignity in four years—since…” She picked at the sleeve of his jacket. “Anyway, I know my place.” “Why don’t you have a shower? You deserve to be warm, clean and dry.” He brushed her hair back. “Yes? Then we’ll talk.” She narrowed her eyes, then sighed. “And I call you Casey?” “Please?” “You’re an odd vampire. Most every other one I’ve known wants me for dinner. Either you don’t because you’re weird or you’re lulling me into liking you so I’ll give in. If you are, you don’t have to make me like you. I’ll give in. I know the rules because you bought me. Remember?” “Why don’t you shower and maybe get some sleep? I won’t kill or drain you.” He wanted her to trust him, but he didn’t want compliancy. Not yet and not outside of the bedroom. He liked her fire and the spunk he’d seen at the club. “I don’t have much of a choice,” she said. “May I have this?” “The wine? Of course.” He poured himself a glass of merlot. “Let’s drink to your freedom and new home.” She stared at him, and he couldn’t read her expression. Wary? Confused? He wasn’t sure. Casey sipped his wine. “Feel free to use whatever’s in the bathroom. I have no secrets from you.” Not many. Her eyes widened again, and her lips parted. “You scare me.” She drank the wine in one gulp, then coughed. Good merlot should be sipped—not gulped. But he hadn’t gone two days without food. “Why do I scare you?” She shrugged out of his coat. “Because I can’t tell what you’re thinking or what you want from me.” “Oh?” His previous girl had said he’d telegraphed every move. “I don’t know what you want and I can’t figure out if you’re telling me the truth.” She left the stool. “I’d like that shower, though, please?” He kept getting her right to the edge of opening up when she shut down again. Soon, he’d know her secrets, and she’d know his. He led her to the set of rooms along the back of the house. “In here. I’ve got towels, soap and anything you need in the drawers.” “Even a flat iron?” She’d volleyed a challenge. Nice. He liked her spirit. “If you want.” He turned the water on in the open stall. “I’ll leave you to your shower.” “You can watch. I haven’t showered in ages.” She removed her filthy dress. “I used to have guards so I wouldn’t run away. I don’t know what it’s like to have privacy.” Lomax used guards? Interesting. Casey spied the lines on her back. Lashings? “Were you whipped?” She shuddered and didn’t turn around “I was told I deserved it.” He touched the silvery scars. He remembered when he’d seen her at the club, she’d gotten off on being flogged, but not to the point of bloodletting. What she’d been through was abuse. She flinched when he touched her again. “I’m sorry.” He pressed a kiss to her shoulder. “I’ll never do anything like this to you ever.” She tensed, but didn’t pull away. “Uh-huh.” Soon, she’d give him her trust, and he’d prove not all vampires were evil. He wasn’t a nice man—more a son of a bitch—but not with her. She could be his salvation, and he refused to screw that up.

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About the Author

Wendi Zwaduk

Wendi Zwaduk is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to BDSM and LGBTQ themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com and the former AllRomance Ebooks. She also writes under the name of Megan Slayer. When she’s not writing, she spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. You can find out more about Wendi on her website or on her blog. You can also find her on Instagram, Bookbub and Amazon.

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Release Blitz

The Renascent Effect

The Renascent Effect by Carryn W. Kerr

Word Count: 99,566 Book Length: SUPER NOVEL Pages: 412

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE CLEAN AND WHOLESOME DYSTOPIAN ROMANCE SCIENCE FICTION YOUNG ADULT

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Book Description

  Of all possible outcomes, I never thought I’d say goodbye to you like this. After the murder of Cassidy Jones’ mother and the sudden illness of her best friend Harriet, Cassidy must leave the safety of Petriville and brave the unknown both to find a cure for Harriet and the peace she’s struggling to achieve. Plus, only then will Gina release Eric from prison. It’s a new time for the world and for Petriville. Cassidy yearns to find the truth behind her mother’s murder and to understand why Eric betrayed her to Gina Petri. Without these answers, she cannot move on. But for Harriet and many others, the longevity drug fails, and they age rapidly. Gina, who’s in prison for the murder of Cassidy’s mother, knows more than she’s letting on. But neither she nor her daughter and successor, Susan, give Cassidy the truth. No matter how Eric tries to explain why he made a deal with Gina, Cassidy won’t listen. In her heart, she knows it was to keep her safe, but to admit that betrays her mother’s memory. However, if she is to keep Eric out of harm and to help Harriet, she must leave Petriville and find the antidote. With this in mind, Cassidy, her brother Liam and friend Jonas head out to find what they need. If they fail, fifty-two lives are at risk and Cassidy will never find the peace she’s seeking or ever tell Eric that she still loves him. Reader advisory: This book is best read as a sequel to The Renascent World. It contains violence, attempted murder, reference to murder and an emotionally abusive parent/grandparent.

Excerpt

I peered through my bedroom window at the dark, oppressive thunder clouds rolling across the sky. They seemed to mock me—a personalized manifestation of the cold vise gripping my heart. I slithered into the glossy black dress and smoothed the silky fabric. Ignoring the tingling sensation in my hands, I squinted into the dresser mirror, fingering bits of hair from my up-do and coaxing them into fine ringlets. When I lowered my vision to my face, an icy, haunted chill slid down my spine. But this wasn’t Mom—not her oval face or her deep blue eyes. No, it was me. Red lines mapped the whites in the mirror, the blue irises shimmering like the glistening black fabric of my dress. Except phantom-liquid glossed the dress, not tears. And those fell thick and fast. No matter how I swiped at them, more fell. On top of that, I kept fixating on the sixteen silver sparkle bangles Mom and Dad had presented me with two years earlier, and on my other wrist where Grandma’s wrap-around bracelet pen clung. Too many memories came with both, so I slipped them off and sealed them in my dresser drawer. After composing myself enough, I left my room but halted on the stairs. Liam was waiting near the front door with Achilles and Yvon lying at his feet. My brother’s sleek outfit glimmered on the polished dark wood floor. He flashed one upward glance but refused to look at me. As I descended the stairs and crossed the hall to him, new tears blurred my vision. “Please don’t do this, Li.” His otherwise-bright-green eyes dulled, and like mine, red lines streaked the whites. He didn’t meet my pleading gaze, nor did he reply. I couldn’t leave it at that. “How long are you going to carry on blaming Eric and me for Mom’s murder?” When I’d left the cage to face Gina, he’d said it wasn’t our fault—only because he’d thought Gina had meant to kill me. Since she hadn’t, he’d gone back to sticking Mom’s murder on us. He finally spoke, but his voice had turned to stone. “It’s no different from how you blame Eric.” A few days ago—in fact, the day after Gina had murdered Mom—Eric had broken my heart. “But it is different. Eric confessed to making a deal with Gina.” Liam glanced upstairs and cleared his throat as Dad descended to join us. Dad wore a dazed expression, a black tie dangling around his neck. I gulped a lump down my throat and gestured at the tie. “Can I help you with that, Dad?” He managed one slow nod. I approached him, raising his collar. “You’re looking thin. When did you last get something into your stomach?” He gaped at me as if I’d asked the strangest question, and after a long pause murmured a simple, “I ate.” My fingers trembled as I constructed the Windsor knot and patted it flat. I studied my father’s troubled eyes—the same vivid green as Liam’s. It brought a burning lump to my throat. He touched my shoulder, his voice flat and neutral. “Mom would be so proud of you, Cassidy. Now please don’t cry. It rips my heart out.” The pleading in his voice made me swallow the lump, but my harsh words burst out before I could stop them. “I don’t want Mom’s approval. I want her here.” Dad jerked back, a hoarse whisper grinding from his chest. “My girl, I didn’t mean—” Liam glared at me, his Adam’s apple bouncing. His words gushed. “Don’t snap at Dad, Cassidy! This is your fault.” Our father amplified his voice to a broken grate. “Liam!” He blinked. “Please, guys. We can’t go on blaming each other. Gina took Mom from us, not Cassidy. In all fairness”—Dad directed his gentlest tone to me—“neither did Eric. Can either of you tell me in all honesty you’d have done something different in Eric’s place?” Liam’s Adam’s apple continued to bounce, but fury burned through me. “Eric made a pact with the devil. He betrayed us!” Dad shook his head in slow repetition, as if he wasn’t disagreeing, just sad I saw it that way. “Now, I think you know very well that he tried to protect you in the best way he knew how.” He laid an arm around both Liam’s and my shoulders. “We shouldn’t entertain those thoughts. Rather, let’s get through today, okay?” Then he let our tan-and-black Dobermans out through the back door. I didn’t want to fight with my father. He needed us to stand together. Sucking my disagreeing words back, I nodded. Liam must have been thinking along the same lines, because an empathetic frown tugged at his forehead. After heading through the front door…he froze. Mourners crowded the park over the curved walkway beneath waterproofed, Kaleidotonium umbrellas, which floated over their heads like a thousand black mushrooms. Kaleidotonium was Graham’s discovery and the reason we were alive. The indestructible shell had protected Petriville while we’d lived in Earth’s orbit. Regardless, I hated everything about this place and Gina. I was glad she wouldn’t be here today. Susan Petri had imprisoned her mother for Mom’s assassination, but even though she was imprisoned, I still loathed Gina. I forced my mind to the present. Graham, the Winters and the Carter families waited on our front lawn. I found my attention flicking to the tall figure at the back of our party of friends. With gritted teeth, I swiveled away. This wasn’t the same as Liam blaming me. Eric had betrayed us all. I wanted to head over to him and tell him he should leave right away—demand that he never return. Not now, not in front of Dad. I’d do it later. Liam laid a palm over Dad’s shoulder. He matched Dad’s height now. His rapid-fire speech emerged only a tad slower than normal, but as soothing as a melody. “Dad, would you like to lead the procession? Are you up to it?” A vacant expression glazed our father’s features as he tilted his head at Liam, confused. “Do you think your mother would wish that?” Liam didn’t skip a beat. “I do, Dad. Mom would like that very much.” I smiled at Liam, grateful that he treated our father with such tenderness. He didn’t return it. I hung back and trailed them along the walkway. Mom seeped into every memory, looping through my mind, like when we’d arrived home together after Gina had discovered my friendship with Eric, her warm smile whenever I’d walked through our front door, how her ankles had stuck out below the hem of her jeans. Yesterday I’d gripped her beige cashmere turtleneck to my face and recalled my absolute contentment when she’d cuddled me against her. The wool still smelled of her. It broke me. The nearest transparent intersection footbridge glowed in its reflection of rainbow colors. Behind Dad and Liam, I made for the inbound of the dual conveyors. As we rode the gentle upward slope, I scanned our hometown. Every digital billboard dotted along the conveyor from here to the town square showed images of Mom. Etched beneath her photo were her name, date of birth and date of death—of her murder, more like it. Even more black umbrellas lined the dual conveyor than filled the park. Their wards stood in clusters between lollipop trees and Victorian street lanterns, while the rain beat a steady rhythm against the Kaleidotonium shells. From behind, our closest friends ushered us toward the town center—something like a date extending his hand to the small of one’s back, offering support and encouragement. The rest of the funeral procession joined in after they passed. We drifted beneath several glowing footbridges. The conveyor-ride left me alone with my thoughts for far too long, but finally the town square—or rather, circle—came into view. The large, shiny number two marked the end of the line. If I thought too many mourners had trailed us on conveyor two, even more poured into the town plaza. Thousands dismounted the twelve conveyor streets that, like the hands of a clock, cut wedge-shaped sectors into the area. Crowds milled about the cobbled paving and the grassed areas, speckling the town center, only avoiding sitting on the wet park benches. In silence, people cleared a path. We made our way to the far side of the square. I looked over my shoulder, landing on sector five—on Mom’s old-style stone office building. We’d spent many hours together there when she’d taken me on as an intern. Who will teach me now? As we neared the glossy number seven, I looked up and right toward Dad’s office. Like with every building edging Petriville’s central circle, old-style stone bedecked the walls. I couldn’t recall the last time I’d visited him there. Behind Dad, Liam rounded the large number and boarded the conveyor beyond. He didn’t turn to see if I’d kept up—my brother who professed to love me so much. I wasn’t sure which cut worse—me hating Eric or Liam hating me. We sailed toward the graveyard on Petriville’s outskirts. After what felt like forever, I exited the conveyor onto sodden grass. Until now, only a single grave had occupied it. One! It wasn’t right that we were burying Mom in the second gaping wound, scarring Petriville’s soil. The realization hurt as if someone had ripped my soul through my chest. A bleak, gaunt and hunched-over version of Dad faced the world these days. No longer did he hold his tall, lean physique with calm, erect confidence. Lines of wretched agony raked his prominent forehead. After we spread out around Mom’s grave, Harriet moved beside Liam. She clung to him and offered me a heavy blink. At least my friend wasn’t siding with my brother in hating me. Her blonde waves hung limp and tears gushed down her face. A Taiwanese priest from sector four stepped from the crowd, then faced us. He directed his sermon to Dad, Liam and me, humming Mom’s story in a gentle tone. Digital billboards around Petriville broadcast the sermon to those too far away to hear his words. “We gather here today to celebrate the life of Emily Jones, adored by her husband Peter and children, Liam and Cassidy.” I surveyed the mourners and found Susan Petri. She lingered beneath a tree with Amanda and Gregory, her teenage daughter and son. I scowled, but Susan averted her gaze. Although my reasoning lacked logic, I detested her too. And because I loved him despite his betrayal, I searched for Eric. He stood with Graham in a clearing. As he trained his gaze on me, I angled away. But I couldn’t keep from looking back. He shuffled his feet, dropped his chin to regard his shoes and wrung his hands. Black circles ringed his aquamarine eyes. The priest continued. “The strength of an attachment formed over a hundred and thirteen years is incomprehensible. Our equestrian veterinarian, Marissa, can attest to bonds formed over fifty…uh…sixty years”—he surveyed the crowd for Marissa before going on—“having lost her husband, James.” He frowned and fumbled with the sheets of paper in his hand. Liam glanced at me for the first time in days, and my mouth dropped open. Not because I thought he’d forgiven me, but because none of us had known that Marissa’s husband was the man who’d died all those years ago. No wonder she always looked sour. Harriet and I had still been attending junior school when the rumors had circulated about how he’d died in a kitchen accident. The priest pressed the microphone into Dad’s hand. With a long blink, Dad frowned, light creases raking his forehead. He looked so frail as he parted his lashes, skimming from person to person. “Emily,” he murmured, “my wife, my soul, Liam and Cassidy’s mother—gentle, kind, loving. Those words best describe the woman I adore.” He spoke about her school-life, her energy and savvy, her many academic and sporting awards and how a room sparkled when she walked in. He added things about my mother I hadn’t known. Had I neglected to learn about her life while I’d had the chance to discover who she’d been? Dad ignored the crowd and spoke to Mom in the softest croon. “I will love you forever, my most incredible and beautiful Emily.” Tears streamed down his face and mine. I filtered my attention through the haze. Streaks marked the faces of Liam, Harriet, Jonas, Roger, Megan, Joshua, Caroline, Samantha, Paul and…Susan. Susan crying? It’s probably from guilt. Dad handed the microphone back to the priest, who cleared his throat and gave Dad three roses—one red and two white. As the sermon concluded, Dad passed a white rose each to Liam and me. A soft whirring jerked the straps holding Mom’s coffin into slow motion, lowering my mother into the ground. We approached and Dad let the red rose fall, his expression impassive. Liam followed, letting the flower waft out of his fingers. It landed with its stem crossing Dad’s, but when I freed mine, it set down several inches away. My head spun with something like vertigo, and before Liam had the chance to spin from me, I clasped his hand. Until that moment, I hadn’t planned on defending Mom’s honor. My voice emerged thick, but my tone sounded resolute, giving me the courage to go on. “Our mother didn’t deserve to die. She did nothing wrong!” I fixed on Susan, who never looked away this time. “I want to know why Gina killed my mother, and not the rubbish you fed me about Gina thinking my mom had led the rebellion. As much as I hate her, Gina is not that stupid. I want the real reason.” Susan’s face reddened as she averted her gaze. Liam released my hand, tears rolling down his cheeks. I thought he’d abandon me to my own embarrassing declaration. He didn’t. Instead, he hauled me to his chest, arms around my body and head, keeping me safe and warm. “Not now, Cass. Not now, little sister. Think of Dad.” I focused on the priest as he proceeded with his closing words. Numb sadness took hold of me. I never noticed people dispersing. Once more, Eric fixed me with a look. Then he returned his attention to Graham as Susan, Amanda and Gregory joined them. Liam didn’t pull away from me as we retraced our route along conveyor seven, though he opened a gap and encouraged Dad to fit in between us. I slipped my arm through my father’s and looked up at his fair, sculptured features. My heart fractured. Yes, for Liam and yes, for me, but more for the wonderful man between us. “Dad, tell me you’re going to be okay. Please tell me you’ll get through this.” Dad blinked and angled his face toward me. “We must, my daughter. We have no choice.” Susan held Mom’s wake in the town square. Although I didn’t want to, I couldn’t stop myself from scanning the thick flagpole rooted beside the wide Roman stairs. The tall spire rose toward the sky. At its pinnacle, the bright orange Petrician Enterprises flag wafted in the breeze. I grimaced at the twisted morbidity, the memory slamming into me with the force of a wrecking ball—the scene of Mom’s murder. When Petriville’s mourners finally dissipated, dusk settled. The antique-like stone of the municipal building which spanned sectors eight to ten awoke, the eerie glow of the amber lights growing brighter. As Liam, Dad and I made our way home, wrapped in each other’s arms, new tears surged down my face. Drawing a breath, I wiped them away and made myself a pact. From that moment forward, I’d save my tears—for Mom and the few others who mattered.

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About the Author

Carryn W. Kerr

Carryn W. Kerr is a young adult fiction author. She has a deep love for all things relating to the English language and considers stories as the rainbows of a sometimes cruel world. Rather than creating characters, she believes they always existed. Hers was the privilege of meeting them. When writing their stories, words flow through her fingertips like a gushing stream. She finds pleasure in escaping to fictitious realms as they develop and grow in her imagination. Carryn began the adventure of life in a small South African village in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal. When she isn’t writing, she can be found working out in the gym, running, or trying not to fall off her horse as they train and compete in dressage. For many years she worked in IT. Carryn lives with her husband and son in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her married daughter is on the beautiful island of Zanzibar. You can find more about Carryn at her website and follow her on Instagram.

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Two Different Sides

Two Different Sides by L.A. Tavares

Word Count: 79,684 Book Length: SUPER NOVEL Pages: 306

GENRES:

CELEBRITIES CHICK LIT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

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Book Description

All bets are off. Blake Mathews is out of luck. The music, the fame, the love of his life… They’re not enough for him. His tendency to make large bets at expensive tables could cost him everything—the band, the money and the girl. Blake thought things couldn’t get any worse, but he lost that bet too. Someone from his past shows up after a decade of silence with new information about who Blake is, where he came from and the fact that he has family who is closer than he thinks. Told on two different timelines—now and then—the story recounts the upbringing of the bass guitarist and his friend, lead singer Xander Varro, dating back to the two meeting, starting the band and the trouble and triumphs that unfold as the two grow to the present-day versions of themselves. For Blake, history tends to repeat itself, but with the help of his band, the girl he’s been chasing since his teen years and the family he didn’t know he had, the chance to break the dark cycles is in the cards for him, if he chooses to play the game. Reader advisory: This book deals with a gambling addiction and parental abandonment. This book is best read in order as part of the Consistenty Inconsistent series.

Excerpt

It was about damn time I took things into my own hands. I’ve loved her for too long and have nothing to show for it. For years I’ve admired her from afar and she’s given me none of her time and even less of her heart, yet she holds mine in her hands. She always has. Touring and being on the road is exactly what I always wanted, but I wouldn’t have any of it without her—in more ways than she even knows. Now, I stand outside the doors of The Rock Room, ready to give the performance of a lifetime without ever stepping on the stage at all. The doors creak as I push them open and strut across the venue floor. My steps echo and my heart rate quickens. She’s on the stage walking back and forth in heeled knee-high boots. Her blonde hair falls in curls down her back. “Kelly!” My voice echoes as it leaves my throat and bounces off the walls of the empty venue. She looks at me and her mouth parts, but I don’t give her time to speak. I have to get this out. If I don’t say the words now, I never will. “I have loved you since the first time I saw you. I’ve never been able to give my heart to anyone else because it has always only been yours. I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to get your attention and the truth is, I’ll keeping wasting it if you ask me to. I will wait for you, but I’m hoping you won’t make me.” There is a long pause. She’s completely still—unmoving and holding her breath. I swallow, hoping she speaks because…I’ve got nothing else. “Blake,” she says, my name echoing through the venue. “Can we…can we do this later? We’re auditioning musicians for the house band…” She lifts her hand and points to the seats where bodies fill the spaces that I’d assumed were vacant. I rub my hand at the back of my neck while my cheeks flush something fierce. With no other option, I turn on my heel, leaving without the girl but with my fill of embarrassment for the next few years. I slam the doors open and stomp through a two-day-old puddle in the alley behind The Rock Room, but the doors reopen and she runs out behind me, her boots hitting the water as she heads toward me. “Blake.” “No, it’s fine. I don’t know what I was thinking—” “Do you ever stop talking?” She grabs the collar of my leather jacket, pushes my body against the cold brick wall, then pulls me toward her—against her—and places her mouth on mine in a kiss that was more than worth the wait. “I’ll come by tonight,” she says through the kiss. “I have to go back to work.” “Mmm, you should quit.” I keep her close to me. “Not a chance.” She steps away, adjusting her clothes and hair before giving me a smile over her shoulder and heading back inside. I slide down the brick wall and sit in the alleyway. Though the ground is wet and cold, this all feels too good to be true—a dream.

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About the Author

L. A. Tavares

When it comes to romance, L A doesn’t have a type. Sometimes it’s dark and devastating, sometimes it’s soft and simple – truly, it just depends what her imaginary friends are doing at the time she starts writing about them. L A has moved to various parts of the country over the last ten years but her heart has never left Boston. And no, the “A” does not stand for Anne. Follow LA on Facebook and Twitter.

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Tomorrow’s Hero

Tomorrow’s Hero by Thom Collins

Word Count: 32,214 Book Length: SHORT NOVEL Pages: 127

Genres:

CELEBRITIES CONTEMPORARY EROTIC ROMANCE GAY GLBTQI SPORTS

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Book Description

  A professional footballer with a secret. Can love conquer a lifetime of fear? On the surface, international football star Fernando Inglesias has the perfect life—his dream career, fame, wealth and a beautiful girlfriend on his arm. At twenty-nine, Fernando has it all, but success is fragile, and one mistake could destroy everything. Fernando has a secret he will never share, something that could destroy everything he’s worked hard to achieve. There are no openly gay male footballers in the professional league, and he has no intention of becoming the first. Ibiza…the party playground of Europe—a hedonistic island where anything is possible. On a weekend trip with the boys, love is the last thing Fernando expects to find. A chance meeting with Joshua, a handsome English visitor, changes it all. For the first time, he finds himself interested in more than sex from another guy. As Fernando and Joshua grow closer, the stakes are high on both sides as they struggle to overcome their personal differences. Can Fernando risk his career for the sake of loving another man? Reader advisory: This book contains themes of homophobia, a mention of suicide and references to parental neglect and abuse.

Excerpt

By eleven p.m. on Friday night, the stag party had been hard at it for thirty-eight straight hours. Since they’d arrived at the airport yesterday morning, they’d been on a relentless mission to get wasted, knocking back beers with vodka chasers before boarding the flight. Now Marc, the groom, had his hand up the skirt and his tongue down the throat of a girl he’d met less than an hour before. The best man had another woman pressed against the wall, while the tell-tale jerk of her shoulder made it clear she was giving him an over-the-trouser hand job.

Fernando Inglesias watched the tawdry display going on all around him and wondered, not for the first time that day, what the hell he was doing there. He barely knew Marc Jenner, and from what he’d seen of the groom so far, he intended to keep it that way. The rest of the group were just as bad—entitled, overgrown schoolboys behaving like this was their first trip away from home. Fernando had come along for the sake of his friend and teammate Robson, the only guy on this trip he gave a stuff about. Now Robson had his arm around the shoulder of a woman in a transparent dress. There was no need for Robson to stare so obviously at her enhanced breasts when everyone in the place could see them.

And now the women—a large hen-party they’d met in the previous bar—had tagged along and made themselves a permanent fixture. Lured by the promise of free drinks and VIP club access, it was obvious they would stick with the guys for the rest of the night, perhaps even the weekend.

Fernando knew before the flight had left London that he’d made a mistake in accepting the invitation. It had been pure hell from the start. He would make sure he was unavailable for the wedding, whenever that was.

He flinched as one of the women from the hen party made a grab for his crotch. He ducked his hips just in time to keep her from getting a good handful.

“Aww, don’t be a spoilsport,” she said, pressing her breasts against him and thrusting her knee up the inside of his thigh. “I only wanna see what all the fuss is about. Know what I mean?” Her screechy laugh cut above the unrelenting beat of generic house music.

Fernando tried to pull away, but the woman would not be shaken. She put an arm around his waist and pushed her body tight against his. She reeked of cloying, overbearing perfume and gin. Fernando turned his head to avoid the worst of the smell. Like all drunks, she had no concept of how loud she was being.

“Wass-a-matter with ya?” she shouted in his ear. “You’re in Ibiza, ain’t ya? Everyone comes here to party. Don’t be so stuck up.”

She ground her body against him almost in time with the music. Fernando looked around for help, for someone to save him from this awful woman, but all the other men in his party were enthralled by the girls. They probably thought he was having a great time.

Fernando groaned. He didn’t fit in with anyone here. Even Robson had turned into a different person since hooking up with these idiots. They had been drinking since they’d surfaced around noon and made no attempt to hide it when they took a hit of cocaine to revive their flagging spirits. He’d avoided them for much of the day, working out in the hotel gym before catching some quiet time around the pool in the afternoon, but there had been no getting out of joining them this evening. When they’d finally hit the town, Fernando had been the only sober member of the group.

“They call me Becca,” the woman hollered, fluttering her false eyelashes. She licked her lips, gazing at him lasciviously. “I know who you are. I’ve seen you in the magazines—gossip sites and all that. Always thought you was hot, but man, those pictures don’t do you justice.” She giggled, an obvious attempt at coyness. “You are so much sexier in the flesh.”

Fernando clenched his teeth. This was exactly what he didn’t want—being recognised from the trashy celebrity magazines his girlfriend paraded them through, rather than as the international striker he was. Those mags were devoured by people like Becca, who seemed to believe every word they read.

“It’s not true, is it?” she persisted. “That you’re getting married to that Pritti Parlow?”

“No,” he said, looking for an escape. The bar was packed, and he’d somehow got hemmed into the corner. He saw several camera phones trained on him and Becca. Great. A photo like that could be used to support any bullshit story the gossip sites cared to invent.

“Good,” Becca said, pressing closer. “Cause you can do much better than her. Know what I’m saying? I don’t think she’s all that special. You see her everywhere, but I don’t even think she’s that pretty, which is funny considering her name. It’s all false, ain’t it? Her tits, her hair, lips… None of it’s real. I mean, no offence and all that, but I just say what I see.”

Fernando raised his eyebrows. With her frozen forehead and the duck-like shape of her mouth, Becca’s own brand of beauty was far from natural. “I have to go. Excuse me.”

Becca gripped him tighter. “I’m a model,” she continued, undeterred. “Glamour, corporate entertaining, you know the kind of thing. I’m a friend of the bride.” She gave a dismissive wave in the direction of a woman in a pink tutu and veil. “Sort of. More a friend of a friend, but who’s gonna turn down a trip to Ibiza? It’s fucking insane, ain’t it? I love it here. Don’t you, hon?”

Fernando yanked his arm out of her grip. “It was nice meeting you,” he said without conviction. “I have to go now.”

She appeared panicked, reaching for him again, but he shrugged her off. “Why don’t I come with you? How does that sound? You and me? We could go somewhere nice and quiet. Maybe your hotel.”

“No thanks.”

“I give the best blow jobs,” she shouted, spraying him with spittle. “All the guys love it. I can suck your balls dry and make your toes curl. And that’s just for starters. First night anal. I’m that kind of girl. I guarantee a good time—the best you’ll find this weekend.”

“You know I have a girlfriend.”

“But she ain’t here, is she? What she don’t know about won’t hurt her. Besides, if it’s only a blowie, like, it hardly counts as anything, does it? An’ in Ibiza at that.”

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About the Author

Thom Collins

Thom Collins is the author of Closer by Morning, with Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels. Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonkbusters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age, but since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go. You can take a look at Thom’s Blog and follow him on Twitter.

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Tall Willows

About the Book

Title: Tall Willows Author: PC Feather Genre: Murder Mystery / Romance For senior Ruth Willows, her last year at Golden Valley High School in Golden Valley, Colorado was to be the best year ever. That is until the drop-dead sexy cowboy love-of-her-life Ken Silver turns out to be the school’s new English teacher. When she sees him at school, she faints from the shock, crashes into a bookcase, and goes to the ER. Ken, realizing his terrible conflict of interest, goes to the ER and tells her he cannot see her anymore. Ruth returns to school, injured, mortified, and heart broken only to discover the district accountant shot dead in the school darkroom. If that weren’t enough, she accidentally picks up a file that the late administrator left in the school office before his death. The file contains proof that someone was embezzling funds from the school. Ruth finds herself in the middle of the mystery. Was the administrator killed by the embezzler? Does the embezzler know this file exists? Could the murder be a coincidence? Tall Willows takes you to beautiful horse farms in the fictional small town of Golden Valley, Colorado, back to high school and first love, and into the mind of a crazed murderer. If you love a good mystery with a steamy side of forbidden romance, you’ll love Tall Willows.

About the Author

PC Feather feels blessed. She has lived and traveled from Maine to California. She’s had the opportunity to work many many jobs from Actor to Zookeeper. Currently, PC Feather lives in Monmouth County, New Jersey where she cares for sport horses, shows horses in dressage, and is a certified equine massage therapist.

Links

Book Site: www.tallwillows.com Author Site: www.pcfeather.com FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/pcfeatherstories Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pcfeather/ Purchase Tall Willows from Amazon.
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Bloodroot Virtual Book Tour


Historical Fiction

Date Published: 08-01-1021

Publisher: BQB Publishing



England, 1609. Matthew did not trust his friend, Richard’s stories of Paradise in the Jamestown settlement, but nothing could have equipped him for the privation and terror that awaited him in this savage land.

Once ashore in the fledgling settlement, Matthew experiences the unimaginable beauty of this pristine land and learns the meaning of hope, but it all turns into a nightmare as gold mania infests the community and Indians become an increasing threat. The nightmare only gets worse as the harsh winter brings on “the starving time” and all the grizzly horrors of a desperate and dying community that come with it.

Driven to the depths of despair by the guilt of his sins against Richard and his lust for that man’s wife, Matthew seeks death, but instead finds hope in the most unexpected of places, with the Powatan Indians.

In this compelling and extensively researched historical novel, the reader is transported into a little-known time in early America where he is asked to explore the real meanings of loyalty, faith, and freedom.




About The Author

A retired Aviation Safety Inspector for the FAA, Daniel V. Meier, Jr. has always had a passion for writing. During his college years, he studied History at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW) and American Literature at The University of Maryland Graduate School. In 1980 he published an action/thriller with Leisure Books under the pen name of Vince Daniels.

He also worked briefly for the Washington Business Journal as a journalist and has been a contributing writer/editor for several aviation magazines. In addition to, Bloodroot, he is the author of the award-winning historical novel, The Dung Beetles of Liberia that was released in September 2019 and the highly acclaimed literary novel, No Birds Sing Here in April 2021.


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Just a Phase by M.J. Marstens

Just a Phase
M.J. Marstens
(Not Another Teen Wolf, #1)
Publication date: August 31st 2021
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Bullshit is spelled Youre a werewolf.

First, my parents tell me Im going to be checking into the Red Roof Inn” every month, and now, they tell me Im a werewolf?!

Add to that I need to pick a mate and enter into some wolfy marriage—NOPE.

Not.

Going.

To.

Happen.

They cant make me.

Everyone thinks this is just a phase but nineteen is the new two—and Im going to show them how terrible I can be.

Buckle up, bitches, its going to be a bumpy ride.

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EXCERPT:

Ill tell you in exchange for something,” I bargain.

Rue squints at me warily.

What?”

Ill tell you where were going and what were doing, if you give me a kiss.”

I hear Rues heartbeat speed up at these words. She might say she wants the omega as her mate, but her body is finely tuned to mine. Her tongue darts out to wet her lips, and I nearly groan at the sight. Her eyes are heavy-lidded, and shes sending out all the right signals. She just needs to turn off her brain. I see her body war with her mind, and I know the moment her flesh wins. Her lithe frame becomes soft, and she leans in towards me.

One kiss—thats all.

One kiss,” I promise, leaning over.

Well, not now!” Rue shrieks. Youre driving!”

I chuckle at her outrage.

Okay, when we get there, then.”

Exactly thirty seconds later, I stop the car.

What are you doing?” she demands.

Were here—and I want my kiss.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Backup, buddy! Youre not getting that smooch for free. You tell me where we are right now.”

Rue peers out her window into the night. She hasnt admitted it, but I know she cant see anything. I wish she would tell me more about why shes not like a normal wolf, but trust will come with time. If I want her to confide in me, I need to respect Rues boundaries.

Were at my grandmas house,” I finally confess, making her gasp.

Your grandmas house?!”

I told you I was going to feed you homemade tortillas and margaritas. What better place than at my grandmas where you can meet my family, too.”

But—but—but—” she splutters, we couldve done this back at the mansion!”

Nah. I only make tortillas and margaritas at my abuelas. Do you not want to meet them?”

Its not that—its just this is like tenth date shit, ya know?”

Im working with only three and a half days, so Im speeding things up,” I remind with a wink.

Rue snorts.

Id say. Well, dont think you can just skip all the bases and go to home plate, mister!” she admonishes severely.

I know thats a sports analogy, but I dont get it,” I admit.

Rues tinkling laugh dances around us, and I can sense her irritation at my date plan fading away.

Not a human saying you know, huh? It means that first base is kissing, second base is er, feeling one another up… third base is—shit. You know what? I dont even know what the bases really are anymore except for first and home. Everyone changes them, but first is always kissing and home plate is when you finally bump uglies. You know—”

Yes, I know,” I cut in. Humans make sports analogies for sex?”

Yep.”

Strange. If I promise not to shoot it in your hoop before you dribble my balls, can we just try a kiss?”

Rue clutches her stomach as she bends, giggling hysterically.

Thats not a saying!” she wheezes.

Well, how am I supposed to know which sports analogies work and dont work?”

I get out of the car and walk over to her side. Smoothly, I open her door and pull her out to me.

Now, about that kiss.


Author Bio:

Bestselling author M.J. Marstens mixes romance, suspense, comedy, and sassy characters who can say whatever they are thinking because it is just a story. When she is not creating steamy scenes or laugh-out-loud fiascos, she is refereeing her three children that she homeschools. In her free time, she loves to eat, sleep, and pray that her children do not turn out like the characters she writes about in her books. To read more about MJ, please visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/M.J.Marstens/.

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Find You There by Brianna Bennett

Find You There
Brianna Bennett
Publication date: August 31st 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

Lyric Meadows is used to being overlooked.

Lovingly called Peanut for as long as she can remember, she uses ceramics to escape the high expectations of her parents. It also keeps her from having to tell them that shes asexual, thereby disappointing them twice because she has no intention to work in music like they want or give them grandchildren. Its not easy to conceal a part of who she is, but shell do it if it means maintaining some privacy.

Luca Sherwood is used to having his privacy invaded.

As the son of controversial politician Richard (Dick) Sherwood, the paparazzi is always up in his business, just waiting for a scandal to blast all over the social media. Unfortunately, Lucas brother Rider does have something to hide, and it is something that could destroy their fathers career if the public ever learned of it.

Lyric and Luca are an unlikely duo with far more in common than they think.

One day, all of Lyrics work at the studio is shattered by an apparent vandal. Devastated, she begins to wonder if her parents were right all along and she should just settle for singing. That is, until Luca volunteers to help her figure out the vandals identity. Her resulting romantic & sexual attraction to him is startling, but shes going to need all the help she can get once she learns that the person who destroyed her artwork may be closer than she thinks.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Shut up. Its not like that. Ive told you before, Ry, Im asexual.”

And that means what, exactly?” Lyric huffed. Im just trying to understand,” he added placatingly yet somehow managing to mock her at the same time. Why is it my job to explain this crap to him? she thought resentfully.

You know, theres this wonderful invention out there. Its called Google.”

Fine, if you dont want to tell me—”

Youre insufferable, you know that?” She cut him off, and he just grinned. It means that I dont feel sexual attraction toward anyone. Im not even a little bit interested in it.”

Not even a little bit interested, hmm? Then what about your high school boyfriend . . . what was his name . . . ?” Lyric stiffened against her will. I dont want to think about him. I dont want to think about him. I dont— Rhythm snapped his fingers. I remember! Shawn!” Oblivious to Lyrics internal mantra, he added, He was such a little douche. Im glad you guys broke up. He didnt deserve you.”

You dont know the half of it. Anyway, being ace doesnt mean I never ever feel sexual attraction. It just doesnt happen as often for me as it does for others,”


Author Bio:

Fanfiction was where it all began. It gave me the opportunity to stretch my creative muscles and work out crucial lessons in the craft. I spent several years writing for free, which helped me understand the realities of the writing world early on.

Once I got to college, I did the one thing that most advisors tell you not to do: I majored in what I was passionate about, not what would be most practical.

After graduating from college with a degree in Professional Writing, I took a year off and then enrolled in a double Master’s program. In the 3 years that followed, I dedicated myself to learning as much as I could about all areas of writing and publishing.

Nowadays, I’m a medical receptionist, soon-to-be self-published author, Medium blogger, writing coach, and podcast host. I live and work in Philadelphia, PA, USA.

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Tabou by Beckett Riley

Tabou
Rachel Rossano
(Beckett Riley)
Publication date: September 1st 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Trapped between societal boundaries, siblings Tom and Theia Edwards thought they knew all about the family business they just inherited from their father. When the true nature of his dealings are revealed, they are thrust into the savage world of drug smuggling for a Mexican cartel.

Forced to continue the work their father once did or suffer the consequences of having their darkest secret exposed, they embark on a journey that will reel them into a nest of vipers full of deceit and betrayal at every turn. But underestimating the forbidden and unbreakable bond between Tom and Theia can prove to be just as deadly to anyone standing in their way.

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EXCERPT:

Get the fuck out of my house,” he spat, blocking Theia from Tenochs view.

Thats no way to speak to your guests, gringo. We just stopped by to say hello and discuss some… unfinished business. But first, I want to meet that lovely little creature hiding behind you,” he said, the corners of his mouth ticking upwards into a punchable cheshire grin. Come here, mamita, let me have a good look at you.”

Before Tom had a chance to take one step in Tenochs direction, one of

the guns on Jake was now pointed directly at him. What do you want?” he

demanded, looking back at Theia who had tears streaming down her face.

Well, Tom, we seem to have a couple of problems. One: you are refusing to

continue a particular service your papi used to provide. And two: you know

what I do, and that doesnt sit well with me. But no worries, I found a solution

now since I know what you… do,” he said, eyeing Theia with his cocky grin still plastered on his face.


Author Bio:

Beckett Riley resides in the sunshine state where she writes in between taking care of a four-year-old daughter, three dogs, six chickens, a grumpy barn cat, and a husband (sometimes in that order according to him). She loves writing erotic stories as much as she enjoys reading them. Dark romance and happily ever afters with hot, possessive, guys bring tears of joy to her eyes so please excuse the alpha males roaming her pages, they know not what they do.

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