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Book Blast – Sunset Beach

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About the Author

Christine Donovan

Christine Donovan is an International Bestselling Author who writes romance that touches the heart, soothes the soul and feeds the mind. She is a PAN Member of RWA and belongs to Novelist, Inc. and Rhode Island Romance Writers.

She lives on the Southeast Coast of Massachusetts with her husband, four sons, four cats and one spoiled golden retriever. As well as writing contemporary romance, she also writes historical and paranormal. All her books have some degree of suspense. In her spare time, she can be found reading, painting or gardening. She loves to tackle DIY projects. 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book:

Title: SUNSET BEACH
Author: Christine Donovan
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 328
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sunset Beach

BOOK BLURB:

Until Sarah Kennedy is 17 she spends her summers at Sunset Beach with a close-knit group of friends. They are young, carefree, and just a tad wild—as teenagers tend to be. They share secrets, love, and a deep connection. But that final summer life as the friends know it begins to unravel. Domestic violence plagues one family, one of their group becomes a criminal. Sarah severs all ties with her friends and disappears.

Fifteen years after the summer that changed Sarah’s life forever, she receives a letter about a reunion. Can she bury her fears, curb her anxiety enough to attend and finally unearth who attacked her and changed the trajectory of her life forever? She also hopes to reconnect with the one man she gave her heart and soul too—Jake Ferroli. She wonders if his life faired any better than hers after his family tragedy and his downfall into drugs and alcohol.

Sarah locks down her demons and rents a cottage for the summer. To her surprise Jake is still single and they slowly reconnect. But so does her attacker. He is good at eluding the police. Somehow he has gone on attacking women for fifteen years without so much as being a suspect. Pictures, letters, and threats against Sarah now come on a daily basis. Jake and Sarah hire a private detective and as they get closer and closer to revealing the identity of the perpetrator, he strikes. Can Jake rescue Sarah before their so-called friend rapes her, or even worse, kills her as he did to his last victim?

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Book Excerpt

When he stepped close to her, he could sense rather than see her retreat. Her eyes darted toward the door then back to him, suddenly full of panic. Why? It tore at his heart to know someone or something traumatized her.

“Why don’t you take a seat and relax.” He reached out to touch her arm and she all but flinched. It appeared ever so quickly, but he noticed it. On an exhale, he let his arm fall, frowned at her behavior, and sat down. She slid into the chair opposite him.

“So, tell me why you’re so jumpy? Is it me, or are you always like this?” God, please don’t let it be me.

She shot him a look of disbelief. “I’m not jumpy.”

Clearing his throat, he said, “If you say so.”

“Have you kept in touch with everyone?”

The desperation he witnessed flash in her eyes nearly broke his heart. “Yeah, I have. You know about Drew and Alyssa. Tom’s a doctor. He works at Mass General and he’s still single. Dylan lives in his mother’s old house. He’s a local cop here. Had a nasty divorce a few years back, but I don’t know all the details. I believe he has one kid, a daughter. Mitch is a detective with the Boston Police Department. He married a fellow police officer and they have two kids. Heather married some guy last year, I haven’t met him. Tracy’s single and I think she’s the only one not coming.”

“I had no idea what became of anyone.” Tears pooled in her eyes. “Except Charlotte.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “You took me by surprise when I saw you pull up today.”

Exhaling, he said, “Likewise. I didn’t expect you to come after fifteen years of silence.” He ran his hands threw his hair and asked, “Why did you come?”

“I don’t know. I thought it was time.”

She had a strange, vacant look on her face, so Jake decided to drop the subject. He would push for more answers later. And he wanted answers. Something had been eating a hole in his heart all these years, and he wanted to know why.

GIVEAWAY!

Christine Donovan is giving away five free e-copies of SUNSET BEACH!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.

  • Five winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter

  • This giveaway ends midnight June 29.

  • Winner will be contacted via email on June 30.

  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Pre-Publication Blitz – Strayed

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About the Author

KristaLyn

KristaLyn A. Vetovich is the internationally published author of seven books and one short story, including the upcoming Prelude of the Reyn Gayst series releasing in 2018 from Glass House Press. She graduated in 2011 from Susquehanna University with a degree in English Literature and began traditionally publishing her novels the next year. KristaLyn is also a certified health and life coach and enjoys infusing her stories with motivational themes and characters from all walks of life.

KristaLyn lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their corgi, Jack.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book:

woman dancing

Title: STRAYED
Author: KristaLyn Vetovich
Publisher: Glass House Press
Pages: 72
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

In the struggle between good and evil, humans don’t stand a chance—not on their own.

Which is why, for every living soul, there is a Firn: a spirit assigned to guide and defend humans from demonic spirits like the Aropfain. But earning a place in the fight is a process that requires several lifetimes—of service, experience, and sacrifice.

Having just returned from her most recent life as an Ancient Roman martyr, Anaya is only one step away from achieving that goal. And if she succeeds, she might become the Firn with the most important mission: guiding the human that will either save—or end—the world.

But when she’s paired with the notoriously difficult Jordin, her chances of success suddenly start to slip. Because Jordin isn’t like other souls. He’s strong, volatile—and a prime target for the Aropfain. And he almost immediately falls for an Aropfain ploy that could not only jeopardize his chances of becoming a Firn, but also endanger the entire world.

As his partner, Anaya is the only one who can save him. But will she succeed? Or will she fail—and take the world down with her?

ADD TO YOUR GOODREADS SHELF

 

Book Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

Well, it happened again. I died.

The bloodied sand of the colosseum shivers out of focus as my soul shakes off its physical limitations in favor of a higher vibration. Instead of centurions and weeping family, I’m now surrounded by snowy white noise and quiet.

They came for me at dawn. I can still hear my mother’s sobs. I was only twelve.

I blink the memories away just as a man bends and pulls into view before me, then straightens with a blithe sort of smile. “Welcome back,” he says in an excessively soothing tone. He wears glasses I know he doesn’t need, and behind them, his unearthly blue eyes trace my face, looking for signs of stress.

And it comes back to me like the snap of fingers. An Advokat. Here to help me adjust to the trauma of crossing over from life to death.

Suddenly I wonder how he sees me. Do I have blue eyes now? In life, they were brown, but here in death I’ve always imagined others see me with crystal blue. I guess it would depend on how much they like me. Appearance is entirely based on impression here. We see what we feel. Feelings are real, vision an illusion.

And this Advokat must be new, I realize a moment later. If he’d been here for any length of time, he wouldn’t be using the sappy voice they put on for the newer souls. The ones who don’t understand how it works. He’d know that I’m something of a regular in the transition between life and death—that I’ve lost count of how many of these interviews I’ve had to sit through. I’m sure I know the process better than he does.

Because I’ve had his job before, mastered it long ago.

I skim him, searching the endless trove of memories trying to break through the fog of earthly business still clouding my mind. I don’t remember him. And I can see that he doesn’t know me.

Definitely new. Which means he’ll play the interview by the book. I groan.

The Advokat reaches out as if to comfort me, like my groan was one of anxiety and not disdain. “Try not to panic.”

I resist the urge to roll my eyes and flatten my gaze at him instead. I understand it’s his job to help me recover from the shock of death, but honestly, I’m fine. So I died—so what? There are many things worse than death, and one of them, if anyone ever bothered to ask me, is living. I’m actually thrilled to be back here—and I don’t need an Advokat to counsel me through the transition.

Also, I’m in a bit of a hurry. I have important business to attend to, even higher vibrations to achieve. I’m so close now, and he’s the only thing standing in my way.

I tap my foot and glance around for someone—anyone who might recognize me and give me an opportunity to walk away from this unnecessary formality.

“Everything will make sense soon.” The Advokat’s voice echoes through the white expanse around us. Clearly, all other souls are keeping their distance to allow me to transition without any added shock. Or—I narrow my eyes at the Advokat—he’s followed protocol by requesting they give us space.

And do we ever have it. As far as the eye can see, there’s nothing but static white. But I smile, and my shoulders relax—because this is my true home.

Just the way I remember it.

The Advokat leans into my line of sight. “Do you know your name?”

My smile drops.

In life, my name was Agnes. In this life, anyway.

There have been so many lives, so many names, but between them all, just one feels like home.

When it comes, my voice sounds like a lost, cherished memory. “Anaya.” My first word after death. The truest word I know.

The Advokat smiles and nods. He doesn’t take any notes or write anything down, and I know about that, too. The answers are in his mind, ready when he needs them, downloaded into his head from the source of all truth on the highest plane of vibration there is: El Olam, our master and creator. He sits so high none of us can reach him, above laws and structure. The world is as he makes it, and we are simply stewards of his creation, here to serve.

And today I’ll go one step further in the process of becoming a defender of creation. I’ll become a Firn.

The Advocat, who is becoming more annoying by the moment, interrupts my thoughts with yet another question. “Good. And do you know where you are?”

Where I am? Well it’s a much better place than where I was…

I was in Rome, in the fourth century. I rejected a boy, and he sold me out as a Christian. It took them forever to kill me—first with shame, then with flames. But all I gave them was a blank stare through the numbness. They couldn’t shame me. I wouldn’t burn when they strung me to the stake and lit the fire—even the flames knew not to touch me. But the Roman officer’s sword through my throat did the trick in the end. I was gone before I felt anything. So I guess the joke’s on them. There was darkness, then a burst of light—

And now I’m home, where none of that matters anymore. I’m free here. Because no one can shame or kill the dead. I’ll be safe as long as I stay.

“This is Lemayle,” I say quietly. “The afterlife. The real world.” And I have no intention of ever living again.

He rocks back and grins. “Wonderful!” Then his face stiffens. He swallows and his eyes shake as he looks me over for a second time, now scanning for any truths beneath the surface, anything I’m hiding from him. If souls could sweat, he’d be a mess as he prepares for the most important question of the interview.

I used to have his job, so I know what comes next. My answers from here on out will decide my final destination.

“All right.” He clears his throat. He doesn’t have to. It’s the nerves. I will be his enemy if I answer poorly, but he has to remain objective. He’s a professional, after all, and he doesn’t know whose side I’m on yet—what changes this most recent lifetime might have made in me.

I was martyred, and not all martyrs come back home the way they should. Martyrs go into life as warriors for El Olam’s cause … but don’t always return feeling their suffering was justified. Some turn against him and defect to the one who seeks to depose him.

And me? How do I feel about the suffering I was put through? Have I changed my mind about who to serve? And how dangerous does that make me to the fragile balance of the world? That’s what the Advokat needs to find out.

“Do the names El Olam and Narn mean anything to you?”

Good and evil. That’s what they mean. Free will and slavery. But which is which? Is El Olam good … or is he evil? Are Narn’s plans for less service to living souls and more dominion over them more appealing? Are they justified? No soul chooses evil.

They simply choose what they believe is right.

I hide my laugh with a cough at the tension in the Advokat’s hunched shoulders. If he’s new—and he wants to stay—he’ll need a stiffer a spine than he’s got now. I might as well be the one to give it to him.

I level my gaze at him, eyes wide open to appear just a little less threatening. “Yes. I know them.”

He nods, more rigidly this time, and rubs the back of his neck as he braces for my response to his final question.

“And … your allegiance?”

I stare at him for a long moment, watching the anxiety build behind his bright blue eyes. He doesn’t want any trouble, but his other hand twitches at his side, ready to summon the support of a slightly higher power—just in case I came back tainted.

Just in case I’ve decided I hate the way the world works … and want to serve the one trying to turn it upside down.

“Oh calm down,” I finally chide him. This has gone on long enough to bore me. I have business to attend to, and honestly, after fifty lifetimes, a soul should be able to just skip this process. “I chose El Olam lifetimes ago. I’m bound to be a Firn. This was my last run.”

His whole body wilts as the tension releases. Had I said Narn, the Advokat and I would have had a few issues. Because it would have meant I was a soul with eyes toward flipping the script, turning the world upside down—force living souls to do as we say, and ruling over them as gods.

He’d have had to immediately summon one of Lemayle’s second-highest authorities—a Malekh, El Olam’s archangels—to deal with me. And it wouldn’t have been pleasant. The Malekh don’t like jokes. Most of them, anyway.

“Well that is a relief.” The Advokat’s hand slides from the back of his neck to clutch his chest, steadying the phantom sensation of a palpitating heart.

And I grin, even though I shouldn’t. But what’s the fun in seniority if you can’t mess with the rookies?

“We need as many Firns as we can get,” he admits, “events accelerating as they are.” I perk up at that. Accelerating events is much more my speed—though it gives me less time to meet the final criteria for joining the Firns’ ranks. “The living souls need all the protection we can give them,” he finishes.

I couldn’t agree more. And that’s where I come in—where all the Firns stand and serve El Olam. Without Firns to guide living souls and protect them from temptation and harm, Narn would flip the script. And humans would walk right into their own slavery.

But El Olam won’t allow it.

So neither will I. I’m so close now. Just one step left, and if I impress the Malekh and El Olam enough in my next job as a soul collector, then I’ll become a Firn, and one day I’ll be even more than that. If I perform well enough, I’ll be chosen as the Firn who oversees El Olam’s plan to defeat Narn once and for all. It has to be one of us, so it might as well be me. And I won’t stop until I see it happen.

Meanwhile, the Advokat extends his hand to me. “Best of luck to you. I hope you make the cut.”

I glance at his hand and back up to him. So he really hasn’t heard of me, then. I may not be a Firn yet, but I have made a name for myself as the one to watch for earning the coveted position in El Olam’s plan.

Well, if he hasn’t heard of me yet, he will soon enough.

“Thanks.” With a smirk, I grip his hand and shake it firmly enough to knock him off balance. “But I really don’t need luck.”

GIVEAWAY!

KristaLyn A. Vetovich is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight May 31
  • Winner will be contacted via email on May 31
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Release Blitz – The Mage Heir

About the Book

Traitor: that’s what Tatsu is now. On the run from both Runon and Chayd, Tatsu and Yudai’s only hope for survival is to disappear into the wilds. However, when the siphon’s deadly curse returns, they have no choice but to travel into the desert kingdom of Joesar in search of a cure.

Battling the unforgiving elements of the sands, Tatsu starts to realize that the path towards destroying the siphon may claim Yudai’s life. Time is running out as Nota’s fury—and the siphon’s hunger—begin to spiral wildly beyond their control.

As their options slowly fall away, the only thing Tatsu and Yudai can count on is each other.

Author Bio

Kathryn didn’t major in creative writing, but never stopped believing. She survives on books, strong coffee, craft beer, puppies, and the Oxford comma. She currently lives in Japan with her husband and teaches high school English to shape the next generation of young minds. She also comma splices like it’s going out of style.

Links

The Mage Heir on Amazon

Book One (The Life Siphon) on Amazon

Book Excerpt

Tatsu didn’t mind sleeping under the leaves, but Yudai’s agitation seemed to grow as the sky darkened. He paced back and forth between two ancient tree trunks with his hands clasped behind his back, over and over, until the stars came out.

“You’re going to have to sleep eventually,” Tatsu pointed out, voice mild, once the moon was high overhead. It earned him a growl in reply. “Please just sit down.”

“This clearing will be dead by morning,” Yudai snapped. When he turned to retrace his steps again, Tatsu could see the twist of his fingers clenched together in tight fists.

“You can’t do anything about it, so there’s no point in blaming yourself. It’s probably just making the whole thing worse.”

The look Yudai threw him was dubious at best, but evidently, the possibility was difficult to ignore. Yudai eventually settled himself down between two patches of yellow-green weeds, and he ran his finger over his lip a few times before his eyes flickered up towards Tatsu. “Distract me.”

“You could ask nicely,” Tatsu said.

One corner of Yudai’s mouth quirked upward. “I could,” he agreed, and said nothing more.

“Did you know that my mother had other children?”

Yudai blinked and sat back, face slackening. “Good distraction.”

Giveaway

Giveaway for 5 eBook copies of “The Mage Heir” to celebrate the release day.

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VBT – Survivors’ Dawn

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About the Author

Ashley Warren

The unending accounts of sexual assault on college campuses compelled me to write Survivors’ Dawn.

My goal in writing the novel was NOT to focus on the act itself, but instead, to write of the victim’s journey, to tell a story about the strength, courage, and determination of survivors, to describe the difficulties they face in their pursuit of justice, and finally, to offer hope for a future where students can pursue their dreams without fear of being attacked.

As Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens to You” implies, non-victims can never truly know how it feels to be assaulted, but we can try to empathize, and we can try to help. Awareness is key to reducing the incidence of sexual assault on campus. Please do your part by taking the It’s On Us pledge and contributing to organizations that are fighting on the front lines.

Thank you to readers who give me encouragement. It means so much to me. Word of mouth is an incredible thing, so thank you also for telling your friends about Survivors’ Dawn.

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About the Book

Survivors' Dawn

Title: SURVIVORS’ DAWN
Author: Ashley Warren
Publisher: Chaparral Press LLC
Pages: 316
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Women’s Fiction / New Adult Fiction

BOOK BLURB

A heroic story of three college women’s fight for justice

At first glance, Brooke Flanagan, Lauren Le, and Nikki Towers have little in common: a churchgoing virgin, a party girl, and a resident advisor. But they all have their own dreams, dreams that can be shattered in a single night.

When freshman Brooke Flanagan first arrives at the university, she’s excited to escape her sheltered life in a Southern town. Lauren Le, a scholarship student, likes to have a good time, but she never disappoints her hardworking, single mom. Nikki Towers always goes her own way. Confident, poised, and wealthy, Nikki’s biggest problem is what to do with her future.

Into these girls’ lives walks Colin Jordan. Colin is the son of a private equity titan, captain of his club basketball team, and a brilliant pre-law student. He is also a sexual predator.

Survivors’ Dawn relates a journey of heroes: the strength, courage, and determination of the victims as they fight to survive; the obstacles they face in their pursuit of justice; and finally, with its conclusion, hope for a future where students can pursue their dreams without fear of being attacked.

A contemporary novel, Survivor’s Dawn wrestles with issues of privilege, sexual assault, and the responsibility of academic institutions to protect their students.

 Survivors' Dawn teaser

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Book Excerpt

A heroic story of three college women’s fight for justice

At first glance, Brooke Flanagan, Lauren Le, and Nikki Towers have little in common: a churchgoing virgin, a party girl, and a resident advisor. But they all have their own dreams, dreams that can be shattered in a single night.

When freshman Brooke Flanagan first arrives at the university, she’s excited to escape her sheltered life in a Southern town. Lauren Le, a scholarship student, likes to have a good time, but she never disappoints her hardworking, single mom. Nikki Towers always goes her own way. Confident, poised, and wealthy, Nikki’s biggest problem is what to do with her future.

Into these girls’ lives walks Colin Jordan. Colin is the son of a private equity titan, captain of his club basketball team, and a brilliant pre-law student. He is also a sexual predator.

Survivors’ Dawn relates a journey of heroes: the strength, courage, and determination of the victims as they fight to survive; the obstacles they face in their pursuit of justice; and finally, with its conclusion, hope for a future where students can pursue their dreams without fear of being attacked.

A contemporary novel, Survivor’s Dawn wrestles with issues of privilege, sexual assault, and the responsibility of academic institutions to protect their students.

Book Excerpt

LAUREN LE BEFORE:

At eleven thirty Lauren Le stood with her new friends at the Homestead, a lively bar in the Triangle. Everyone talked at once, shouting to be heard above the music. The Homestead had space for a couple hundred people, with a large square bar in the middle, dozens of stand-up tables, and two dance floors. The constant beat and the bass notes coursed through Lauren’s veins.

She took a slug of the vodka soda.

Pace yourself, Lauren.

It had taken her a month to get comfortable on campus. She had grown up in Irving, Texas, outside of Dallas, and had never traveled this far to the east before starting school here. Some of her high school friends had gone to college, but none as far away as Lauren. They fell short when it came to grades and test scores and ambition.

Lauren was the result of a short-lived and reckless affair between a Vietnamese immigrant, Kim Le, who worked in a nail salon, and a tall Texan who lit out for the oil rigs as soon as Kim missed her first period. Kim had never heard from him again, and she seldom mentioned him to Lauren. As Lauren grew older she became curious and would sometimes ask about her father.

“I was stupid,” Kim had said. “I tried for a big dream with a big white man. But he was no good.”

When Lauren pressed for more information, Kim would grow adamant.

“You forget about him. You need to study.”

If Kim wasn’t working at the salon, a short distance from their apartment, she was doing piecework for a local tailor. Kim never paid Lauren an allowance, but she let her work a part-time job so long as she kept her grades near perfect.

With a tired mother and an absent father, Lauren was forced to learn how to have a good time on her own, and at that she had excelled. As a senior with a full figure, a fun nature—her hobbies were cosplay, online gaming, and organizing flash mobs—and a curious mind about partying and sex, Lauren had always attracted guys.

She had drunk one cocktail at the Italian restaurant and started with a shot of tequila at the Homestead. When they had first arrived, the girls danced as a group for nearly an hour, not allowing the dearth of boys to deter them from getting the party started.

Lauren took a break, her head buzzing slightly from the alcohol and the dancing. Cool air from the duct above her whisked away the perspiration.

God, college is fun.

The bar began to fill, and boys drifted by their group in ones and twos. A sophomore from New Jersey bought her another drink. He was her height, with red hair, and talked fast in a northern accent. He was almost cute, except for a big pimple and his lack of coordination. They tried dancing but couldn’t make it work. Afterward, he told her his dream of becoming a veterinarian. Snore.

Lauren spied one of the resident advisors from Roxbury Hall, Nikki Towers, watching her from the other side of the bar. The girls had approached Nikki when they first entered the Homestead, nervous because they had used fake IDs to get past the bouncer. They needn’t have worried. Nikki’s nickname was Cool RA. She had a reputation for doing her own thing in her own way and never traveling in a crowd. Cool RA had wished them a good time but advised them not to get wasted. (“I’m your RA, not your babysitter.”) Nevertheless, when Lauren caught Nikki’s eye, she could tell Cool RA was not impressed with the New Jersey kid.

“So…,” he said, “do you want to come over to the frat house and listen to music? I’ve got some killer weed.”

“Oh…well…like…”

His eyes were glazed and his shoulders swayed, like a five-year-old on a bicycle. Lauren wasn’t a fan of just-met sex. If he had been gorgeous, like Liam Hemsworth, then maybe. Wait, maybe? Not maybe. Definitely! But she would not have sex with New Jersey, at least not tonight. “You know, I’m gonna hang with my friends a while longer. Thanks, though.”

“Not a problem. Catch you later.”

He leaned toward her as if expecting something. She hesitated, unsure, and then offered to shake hands. He only got about ten steps before he stopped to chat up another girl.

“What did he want?” said Caitlyn, her roommate. Caitlyn’s face turned sour as Lauren told her of the invite to smoke pot. “Eewww! That guy?”

They laughed. Lauren was light as a feather. She could party all night.

LAUREN LE AFTER:

At two thirty in the morning an Uber dropped Lauren outside Roxbury Hall. Lighting a cigarette, she gazed up at the three-story brick building and remembered move-in day, how excited she’d been; her mother and aunt and uncle had come to help. What had she wanted then? Freedom? Relief from her mother’s watchful eyes? Yes, that was part of it, but she’d hoped for a lot more.

Lauren had smoked pot with her latest score, a hipster from California, and now her head felt heavy and thick. After the joint he had wanted to have sex again. She had no urge for an encore but couldn’t think of a polite way to turn him down. What did that make in total? Three? Four? Five counting the blackout sex with Colin Jordan. Five boys (men?) in four weeks. What the hell? So weird. The hookups were like gorging on pizza, but the gnawing emptiness she’d felt after Colin hadn’t abated at all.

What did she have on the calendar for the next day? A couple lectures: Psychology and English Lit. She might make it to class, or she might not. They were easy courses anyway. Crushing the butt beneath her heel, she tossed it in a trashcan and walked through the door.

Inside Lauren’s dorm room, Caitlyn sat at her desk reading a textbook with her earbuds in.

“Hey,” said Lauren. “What are you doing up so late?”

Caitlyn turned in her chair. “Studying for the psych test.” She sniffed the air.

What? Caitlyn never studied this late. Lauren walked to Caitlyn’s side and saw, sure enough, that the fat psych book was open a third of the way through.

“What for? The test is next week.”

“It’s tomorrow.”

“No, it’s next week.”

“It’s tomorrow. I texted you to study together, but you never answered. Where’ve you been?”

Lauren ignored Caitlyn and walked to her desk to check her laptop. The test had to be next week; she’d skipped a few classes and hadn’t read the book. “What?”

“I asked where you’ve been.”

“The Homestead. I went for a drink.”

Fuck! Caitlyn was right. The test was that morning—less than seven hours away. Lauren shook her head. The buzz from the pot had turned into a headache. How did she mess this up? Caitlyn was saying something else.

“What?”

“You smell like cigarettes and pot. Where did you smoke pot?”

“Uh…I stopped at this guy’s place to party.”

“On a Tuesday? Shit, Lauren. What the fuck?”

“Hey, you’re not my mom. Chill the fuck out.”

After a shower and some caffeine, Lauren reviewed her notes and opened the textbook. Caitlyn had gone to sleep, and Lauren’s desk lamp made shadows on the floor. The quiet of the room calmed her, and for the first twenty minutes she made progress, covered the better part of a chapter, but then her eyelids grew heavy, and the words blurred on the page. A short nap would clear her head and allow her to absorb the material with her usual speed. She set a twenty-minute timer on her phone, lay down, and closed her eyes. The psychology concepts quickly drifted away.

* * *

Lauren sat in the classroom, breathing fast; her eyes flitted back and forth over the questions. Half of the class had already finished and left. She flipped back several pages. Damn. There had to be another question she could answer, but she couldn’t find it, and after another minute the professor called time.

She had woken at eight thirty to Caitlyn roughly shaking her shoulder.

“Wake up! It’s time to go. I woke you twice already.”

With no time to even brush her teeth, Lauren had pulled on boots and a clean top and walked with Caitlyn to class. She had never felt so unprepared.

And now she’d failed the test. Fucking flat-ass failed it.

Outside in the bright sunlight, Caitlyn stopped to face her. Her eyes peered into Lauren’s, her ever-present smile nowhere to be seen.

“How’d you do?” said Caitlyn.

“Awful. I really fucked up.”

“I’m sorry. You know…I tried to text you.”

Lauren’s legs were numb. Adrenaline had fired her up during the exam, but now all the energy had burned off.

Caitlyn headed off to another class, and Lauren trudged to the student union. She’d spent the last of her cash on cigarettes. Once inside, she made it to the ATM and took out ten dollars.

She stared at the red and white logo on the touchscreen.

Bank of America.

Her mother’s apartment was two blocks from a branch. Kim would deposit cash tips at the drive-thru while Lauren sat in the passenger seat. Some days at the salon were hard. The owner would berate the workers for not learning English. But the drive-thru had always lifted Kim’s spirits. On the way out she’d pause to look at the B of A sign and say the same thing every time: “Your future is in this bank.”

Lauren took two steps and her knees softened. She turned her back against the wall and sank until her butt touched the floor.

Don’t cry. Don’t.

But her throat tightened and warm tears forced their way through closed eyelids. She sat with elbows on knees, her hands over her face. Silent sobs shook her shoulders. Students walked past in the hallway, busy, with classes to attend, futures to build. Two girls giggled, happy, oblivious.

Fuck. What was happening? She was freefalling into black air.

Someone said something. A man’s running shoes appeared through spread fingers.

“Are you all right?” he said.

Lauren pressed her palms against her eyes to rub away the tears. She wouldn’t compound her failure by making people pity her, too. Pushing off the tiled floor she stood, pulled her backpack over her shoulder, and faced him.

“You looked kind of sad,” he said.

Who was this guy? What was his game? Not bad looking, with strong shoulders and a relaxed vibe, faded jeans and a simple black T-shirt.

“Do you want to fuck me?” she said.

“What?” His mouth opened. “No!” He stepped back and thrust his hands in front as if to ward her off. “What’s the matter with you?”

Several students stopped, sensing an incident of interest.

Lauren marched away from the onlookers. She ran upstairs to the second floor and exited onto the grounds on top of the hill. She kept walking, past the admissions building and the Old Chapel and onto Philosopher’s Row. She took one of the paths into the side gardens and dropped on a bench.

She rocked slowly, hugging her arms. God, how pathetic was that? What would she do next? She wanted to skip class and walk to the Homestead for an early afternoon cocktail.

As if clinging to the edge of a dark abyss, Lauren tried to hold on, her stomach roiling, her arms shaking. She had propositioned the boy, because she had wanted to fuck him. She wanted to fuck a guy…any guy…every guy.

But why? She’d never done that before. Never on the first night…that was her rule, one she’d broken how many times now? Five.

She grasped the edge of the stone bench, squeezing, ignoring the grating surface against her fingers. A bird sang from a nearby tree. The bird flew from one tree to the next, a flash of red, a cardinal. It settled for a few moments on the branch of a maple tree, whose leaves had begun to turn, sang, and flew off.

The cardinal reminded her of Todd, the gay guy she’d met three weeks earlier, with his bright plumage and sweet song. What had Todd told her as they waited for the Uber driver? Something about the dean of student affairs. Maybe she should check it out.

Giveaway Details

Survivors' Dawn giveaway

Ashley Warren is giving away a FREE Kindle copy of SURVIVORS’ DREAM!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway ends midnight March 30.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on March 31.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blast – Fire by Sam Rook

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Fire
by Sam Rook

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GENRE: Fantasy

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BLURB

The thrilling conclusion to the Knights of Av’lor trilogy!

Trapped on Av’lor and left for dead by her betrayer, Kathryn’s unrelenting determination is the only thing that might overcome the invading Zahkrinon army.

With the portal destroyed and the Zahkrinon army fast approaching, Kathryn and Lanclor have no choice but to focus on the survival of the Knighthood before they can consider rescuing Rachel. Unexpected events threaten their victory and the combined Av’lorian and Earth forces struggle to survive as their numbers dwindle.

They find the Zahkrinon are more dangerous than they had ever imagined.

BookCover_Fire

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EXCERPT

“I know this news is hard to hear, but I wanted you to hear it from me,” Alextor continued. “I will do everything in my power to find a way back for you to return to your homeworld. However, the most pressing matter at hand is the approaching army. We must focus on the approaching hoard of Zahkrinon and dark elves before we can delve into—”

Kathryn abruptly rose from her chair and left the room. Most of the servants scrambled out of her way and faded back into the background, except for one small form who followed Kathryn from the room. Hal shook his head. The servant probably thought she could help the Hero of the Last Battle in some way. Hal turned his attention back to Lord Alextor, determined to listen to what his commanding officer had to say.

“I know not all of you will agree, but I believe—”

Nidira threw herself at her brother’s side and intercepted the knife meant for Lord Alextor’s heart. All around the table, the bare-footed servants randomly attacked the members of the meeting. Blood splashed across the table, a startling contrast against the white slices of bread. Hal jumped to his feet and looked behind him just as a servant prepared to attack.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links

Sam Rook lives in Vermont with her husband and two children. Her passion for fantasy novels began in high school with her desire to write following shortly thereafter. Software engineer by day, fantasy author by night, she strives to give her readers a chance to enjoy worlds that transport them away from the stress of everyday life.

Website:

www.samrook.com

Buy links:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fire-104

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fire-sam-rook/1127522366?ean=2940154631225

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/759750

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Sam will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to wn a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

VBT – CREATING PLACES

TourBanner_CreatingSpaces

Creating Places
by Randy Ellefson

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GENRE:   Non-fiction

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BookCover_CreatingPlaces

BLURB

Creating a unique, immersive setting one place at a time.

CREATING PLACES (THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, #2) is a detailed how-to guide on inventing the heart of every imaginary world – places. It includes chapters on inventing planets, moons, continents, mountains, forests, deserts, bodies of water, sovereign powers, settlements, and interesting locales. Extensive, culled research on each is provided to inform your world building decisions and understand the impact on craft, story, and audience. You’ll also learn how and when to create history and maps. Experts and beginners alike will benefit from the free templates that make building worlds easier, quicker, and more fun.

Learn the difference between types of monarchies, democracies, dictatorships and more for realistic variety and believable conflict. Understand how latitude, prevailing winds, and mountains affect climate, rainfall, and what types of forests and deserts will exist in each location. Consistently calculate how long it takes to travel by horse, wagon, sailing vessels, or even dragon over different terrain types and conditions.

CREATING PLACES is the second volume in THE ART OF WORLD BUILDING, the only multi-volume series of its kind. Three times the length, depth, and breadth of other guides, the series can help fantasy and science fiction creators determine how much to build and why, how to use world building in your work, and whether the effort to create places will reap rewards for you and your audience.

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Excerpt

The term “tidal locking” will make many of us think of tides, but these are unrelated phenomenon. Our moon is tidally locked to the Earth. The same side is always facing us because the moon rotates on its axis in the same number of days it takes to orbit us. This might seem coincidental and unique, but most significant moons in our solar system are tidally locked to their planet; those nearest experience this first. Tidal locking is an eventual result caused by gravity. Early in a moon’s orbiting, it might not be tidally locked, but ours may have become locked in as few as a hundred days (its proximity and size having much to do with this).  A moon that is not tidally locked may have recently formed or been captured by the planet. Either way, the stabilization process hasn’t completed.

As world builders, we have some leeway to claim a satellite is locked or not. Most people are unfamiliar with the concept and we should only mention it if locking has occurred, as readers will assume the opposite without being told. Note that a close, large moon like ours will almost certainly be locked; during the brief period when ours was not, it and the Earth were molten and devoid of life.

Normally, only the satellite is locked to the planet, but they can become mutually tidally locked, as happened with Pluto and its moon, Charon. This means that each of them only sees one side of the other. If we stood on our moon, we’d see all sides of Earth as it rotates, but from Earth, we see only one side of the moon because they are not mutually tidally locked. If they were, the moon would stay in the exact same spot in the sky. About half the planet would see it, while the other half wouldn’t even know it existed unless traveling to the far side of the world. This would eliminate most tides (see next section) except those caused by the sun.

 

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AUTHOR Bio and Links

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Randy Ellefson has written fantasy fiction since his teens and is an avid world builder, having spent three decades creating Llurien, which has its own website. He has a Bachelor’s of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums and earned endorsements from music companies. He’s a professional software developer and runs a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. suburbs. He loves spending time with his son and daughter when not writing, making music, or playing golf.

Creating Places universal buy link: http://www.books2read.com/creatingplaces

The Art of World Building Podcast http://www.artofworldbuilding.com/podcast (launching a week before the tour)

The Art of World Building Website: http://www.ArtofWorldBuilding.com

Author Website: http://www.RandyEllefson.com

FREE eBook: http://fiction.randyellefson.com/freebook/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/randyellefson

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/RandyEllefsonAuthor

Google+: https://www.google.com/+RandyEllefson

NOTE: The book series has a new podcast where even more details are discussed. This podcast is free to listen! Follow along here: http://www.artofworldbuilding.com/podcast

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Randy Ellefson will be awarding an ultimate world builder’s package to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

http://www.artofworldbuilding.com/giveaways/ultimate-world-builders-giveaway/

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2017/10/blurb-blitz-creating-places-by-randy.html

Giveaway.jpg

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VBT – Penchant for Vengeance

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About the Book

Title: Penchant for Vengeance
Author: Robert Downs
Genre: Mystery

front cover

Charlottesville, Virginia, Police Detective Luke McGinty has a closet filled with demons, along with a few skeletons; a steady job, but no steady partner or girlfriend; and is still married to his wife Sallie, even though she’s been dead for three years. Then his detective work takes a turn for the worse when a body is discovered at the downtown mall. One dead body isn’t enough, though, and another one turns up. When ties to a cold murder case in another county present themselves, Luke realizes that, if he doesn’t tread carefully, he could end up short more than just a few answers…

Author Bio

Robert Downs LCC

Robert Downs aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he’d already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise his stories might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and now resides in California. When he’s not writing, Downs can be found reviewing, blogging, or smiling. To find out more about his latest projects, or to reach out to him on the Internet, visit the author’s website: www.RobertDowns.net. PENCHANT FOR VENGEANCE is his fifth novel.

Links

Author website http://www.RobertDowns.net

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RobertDownsBooks

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4821934.Robert_Downs

Giveaway

Giveaway for 2 paperbacks and 2 eBook copies of “Penchant for Vengeance” during the book tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Excerpts

Excerpt #1

Traffic was light—Charlottesville, Virginia, despite being a college town, had a curfew—the morning was dark, and a light mist filled the air, adding drops of water to my bright yellow 1974 Camaro. I took the back roads, rather than using US 250 to reach the downtown mall, with Regal Cinema located near the center, off Main Street. I reached the scene in less than ten minutes, including parking, without using a siren, or running a single red light. The body, however, wasn’t nearly as successful as I was.

“Can’t you guys pick a more reasonable hour?” I asked. “Crime should wait until at least nine o’clock.”

“Why don’t you get your butt out of bed like everyone else?” a cop said.

The man didn’t look familiar, nor did his crew cut, wide shoulders, and pressed uniform. His face lacked wrinkles, and his scowl provided more menace than a rabbit with a semi-automatic weapon.

“I did. I’m here, aren’t I?”

I’d flashed my shield to get in, and now I wanted to flash my nine-millimeter. The early hour meant a yawn preceded one hand wrapped around the thick neck of my competition. I preferred reasonable solutions since reasonableness was all I had left. “What do we know?” I asked.

“We know you don’t belong here,” Nelson Rivers said.

Like his name implied, he preferred headlocks to handshakes and shaved heads over full-haired ones. He and I had respectfully disagreed on multiple occasions, so often I couldn’t remember the last time we’d ever agreed on anything other than the day of the week. He had hands the size of pencil sharpeners, and he pushed more buttons than he allowed pushed in return. What he needed was a little less mouth and a lot more action.

I ignored his comment. Ignorance was a hard emotion to pin down, but it seemed to rear its ugly head quicker than the other ones. And crime scenes brought out a special kind of ignorance. I had a few emotions left in my system, despite the hour, and I wanted to save them for the victim, who appeared about my age.

Excerpt #2

The body was bent like a pretzel. Wounds that were possibly from a knife or a whip slathered the body from the neck to the pubic region, deep enough to resemble tattoos. Some were spaced closely enough to disfigure the top half of the body, rendering an exact age nearly impossible. A crime of passion entered the forefront of my mind, and it clung to the roof of my mouth. The victim probably knew his killer intimately, or was, at the very least, an acquaintance.

The wounds stood out for me: a multitude of lacerations that made me unable to look away. When I scanned below the belt, I noticed the mutilated genitalia, rendering the man much less of one. I didn’t like the look of the scene, with the body splayed at an obscene angle, dropped right outside the glass front doors of Regal Cinema to render two of the doors nearly impassable. It resembled something. I just wasn’t sure what. I’d probably blocked it out of my mind, being that I frequented this particular cinema and watched more movies than I cared to admit.

I hoped it never came back, the thought I had blocked. It always did in the end. That was what hurt the most: Movies exacerbated the oddities of life.

Killers were usually born not made, but sometimes, it was the other way around.

The victim’s hands were positioned above his head, forming a triangle, as if he prayed in death to some higher power. Positioned that way by the killer, his hands rubbed up against each other, his head tilted slightly upward. The wounds to the victim’s hands told me he had put up a struggle, knowing that death was inevitable, yet he had wanted to live all the way to the end. But it wasn’t enough. It often never was.

The lack of blood told me the victim wasn’t killed here, and other than a nude body covered in wounds and dried blood, like strokes from a brush, with his hands pointed toward the sky, there were no other obvious signatures. His head was shaved with only a small area of stubble on his chin. His height and weight fell in the average region, his eyes were black, and his lips formed a permanent grimace. He had defensive wounds on both his wrists and the back of his hands, and his skin was as white as a first-floor apartment.

“Who’s the victim?” I asked.

“Victim’s name is unknown, until we run some tests,” the ME said. “Other than being male, and probably between thirty-five and forty years old, I’m out of guesses.”

Addie Ferguson, the ME, had a knack for guessing ages, along with her serious attention to detail. A short woman, with a few extra pounds she could never seem to get rid of, she preferred ankle-length skirts, black boots, and blue blouses.

“Have we got a time of death?”

Release Day Book Blast – Devil’s Gamble

BookBlast_TourBanner_DevilsGamble copy

Devil’s Gamble- BOOK 2, Tarnished Billionaires Series
by Michele Arris

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GENRE: Contemporary Romance (steamy)

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BLURB

Sienna Keller saw how men used her mother, and from an early age she swore she’d never allow it to happen to her. So when she meets smooth-talking billionaire Gavin Crane, who uses his connections to help her art career, she resolves to keep things strictly professional—no matter how gorgeous he is.

Gavin might be the son of the head of the Kavanagh organized crime family, but he wants no part of that life. It’s important to him to prove to Sienna that he’s a good guy. But when she winds up in the hospital with a gunshot wound, he is driven to exact revenge. His father agrees to provide security to watch over her as well as find the man who shot her, but at a cost—Gavin must come back into the family business.

As Sienna begins to let her guard down around Gavin, seeing the kind, caring man he’s always wanted her to see, his secrets begin to pile up. Has she done the one thing she vowed never to do—trusted her heart to the wrong man?

BookCover_DEVILS GAMBLE COVER

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EXCERPT

“You have your room keycard?”

She pulled it from her black leather clutch purse. He took it from her, and with a quick swipe at the lock, opened, and stood just inside the room with his back braced flush against the door, giving her a wide area to pass without them making contact.

Just then her cell phone rang. She took it from her purse to view the display and quickly connected. “Hey. Hold on a moment.” Pressing the phone at her chest, she looked at Gavin, whose attention was laser focused on the phone in her hand. “I have to take this.”

“I’ll see you in the morning,” he said with little inflection as he reached to his right and set the keycard on the entry table, then his steady stare held hers briefly. “Sleep well.” He stepped out. The door closed quietly behind him.

Sienna waited for the resounding clank of the door across the hall before she let go a breath, and her pulse managed to calm. Wow. She’d expected he’d ask to come inside. A small part of her, that perverse side of her, wanted him to, only so she could turn him away. Turning down his invitation wouldn’t have been just because she felt he was a player or a pain in the ass on occasion, it was something else, some kind of deeply embedded feeling that her mind fought against.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links

AuthorPhoto_DevilsGambler

Award winning author, Michele Arris, writes steamy contemporary romance.
Michele is always plotting out her characters’ next move. Even when she’s not seated in front of her laptop writing about strong-willed, professional heroines and the complex heroes who strive to have them, she’s plotting scenes in her head.

“I love to write story where my characters are guaranteed their Happily Ever After.”
In her spare time, Michele enjoys reading all types of romance genres. She loves paranormal romance as well as historical romances, enjoys watching period classics (Little Dorrit, The Buccaneers, and Persuasion to name a few), actually looks forward to working out, is a holistic enthusiast/vitamin junkie, and spending time with family and friends – simply enjoying life.

LINKS

WEBSITE: www.michelearris.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Michele-Arris-Author

TWITTER: @ArrisMichele

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2yGFpaA
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2fRe25X
iBooks: http://apple.co/2xBfv8a
BAM: http://bit.ly/2wWspeG
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2xKIM1Z
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2frfTxG

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY 

Michele will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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