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VBT – Finding Michael

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Wendi will be awarding a bracelet made by the author and signed swag. (International) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Going home could be just the thing his muse needs and his heart desires.

Tristan Paulson needs the words to return. He loves his career penning novels of small-town love, but his muse has gone missing. If he can’t write, he can go back to his roots and sort through the items his newly deceased uncle left behind. Once in Sullavan, Ohio, he realizes just how much he loved the place. Then he sees the handsome librarian—Michael is just the kind of guy he’s always wanted. How can he go back to the big city when Sullavan calls to him?

Michael Kane wants nothing more than to be surrounded by his books and the written word. He knows heartbreak and isn’t in the mood to put himself out into the dating pool again…until he sees Tristan. He wants to be with Tristan, but he’s too shy. A handsome man like Tristan wouldn’t be interested in a quiet man like Michael…would he?

Read an Excerpt:

Tristan stilled Michael’s hands—to stop the nervous gesture and to hold Michael’s hand. He understood what Michael wanted out of the pairing. He needed to know he wouldn’t be used and he had good reasons for it. Tristan wouldn’t be in town long and getting involved wasn’t smart. But that didn’t stop him from wondering. Michael was sweet, sexy in a geeky way and everything Tristan didn’t look for in a man.

He scanned the menu and decided on his lunch, then focused on Michael again. “Why’d you come to Sullavan? What was the draw?”

“A job.” Michael sat back in his seat, but didn’t pull away from Tristan. “I was fresh out of college and needed a source of income to pay back my student loans. I applied at over two dozen libraries. Sullavan was the only one to call me back and that was through the parent Black River Library system. They seemed to like me and I got the job. Thirteen years later and I’m still here. I made learning about Sullavan my personal goal because I thought it was important. If someone comes to town, then they’ll start here. We have people come back often for genealogical searches.”

“Neat.” He rubbed the top of Michael’s hand. “I can’t say I’m that important. I’m not vital to much.”

“I’m sure you are. Al thought a lot of you. He spoke about you once or twice.”

“He did?” He hadn’t thought about his uncle much in the last year. “So, you know me?”

“I know of you. He said he had a nephew who wrote books and was in New York. I assumed the state and that you did what he claimed, but I never asked your name.” Michael shrugged. “Al was quiet, but he’d speak to me. I think he felt lonely and coming to the library was a comfort.”

The more Michael spoke, the more Tristan saw his uncle in a different light. He’d barely thought about the man, but knowing Al had been proud of him enough to mention him… That was big.

“Then what do you do? Write books?” Michael’s eyes flashed. “Anything good? I heard you say something to Dicey about being an author. We’re always looking for anyone who’s written a book and is willing to impart information to the writers’ group. They can use the guidance. I’m no help. I have no desire to pen anything but the daily logs.”

He’d have to tell his story. He owed Michael that much. But he wanted to keep his secret a little while longer.

About the Author:

Megan Slayer, aka 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 LGBTQ and BDSM 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 author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan 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. Find out more about Megan and Wendi at: http://wendizwaduk.com/indexMegan.htm

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Website, Blog, Fan Page, Amazon Author Page, Bookbub, Instagram, Goodreads, and Twitter

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https://www.bookbub.com/authors/megan-slayer

https://allauthor.com/profile/meganslayer/

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5330530.Megan_Slayer

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Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Michael-Megan-Slayer-ebook/dp/B078WVZKM5

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/finding-michael

Wendi will be awarding a bracelet made by the author and signed swag. (International) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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VBT – Written Together

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Wendi will be awarding a bracelet made by the author and a signed swag pack to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What if the woman he needs is the one he thought was out of his league?

Adam Pallas knows what he wants out of life—to teach history, to be happy and to have a hot woman by his side. He’s got one out of the three. He should be happy, but he’s not. There’s one woman who grabs his attention every time. The catch? She’s very much out of his league. Can being himself actually snag him the woman of his dreams?

Melissa Murphy isn’t looking for love, but every time she sees Adam her plans go sideways. The English teacher knows there’s a confident, hot man hiding behind the slightly nerdy history buff façade. But her past and the things she wants between the sheets tend to scare men off. She believes the odds may be stacked against them. Could it be their lives are perfectly written together after all?

Read an Excerpt:

©Copyright Wendi Zwaduk 2018

She gripped the papers tight. Dear God. What if Adam found out from someone else before she could tell him the whole truth? Would he bolt? They were just friends, but some people were turned off by the idea of role-play and the other things she liked in the bedroom. Adam would probably be one of them. The man seemed so vanilla and wound so tight. And she was drawn to him. Go figure.

She sighed. No wonder she couldn’t make love work in her life.

Adam rounded the corner and waved. His grin widened and the spring entered his step. She snickered. The guy was so silly, but cute. She loved his determination. He’d cherish the woman who secured his heart. The memory of the hug the day before came to mind. She could feel his arms around her again. Warm, inviting and safe. She stopped in her doorway and waited for him to reach her part of the hall.

The jealousy showed up again. She had no ties to Adam other than the hug, but thinking of him with someone else stabbed deep in her gut. She wasn’t the type to chase guys who weren’t interested. What about Adam? Was he interested? Or just looking for friendship?

No, she’d focus on the platonic part of the pairing. God knew she needed more guy friends in her life and fewer dead-end boyfriends for her brothers to torture.

About the Author:

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. Find out more about Wendi at:

http://www.wendizwaduk.com or on her blog: https://wendizwaduk.wordpress.com

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bookbub, Goodreads and Amazon.

http://www.facebook.com/wendizwaduk.meganslayer

https://twitter.com/WendiZwaduk

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https://www.bookbub.com/authors/wendi-zwaduk

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3495446.Wendi_Zwaduk

http://www.amazon.com/Wendi-Zwaduk/e/B003KA589U

Buy the book at Amazon.

Wendi will be awarding a bracelet made by the author and a signed swag pack to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour

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VBT – Lie to Her

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mehrisa Mex will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Despite years of treatment, twenty-one year old Lydia still struggles with trauma from being attacked as a teenager. House-bound with anxieties and haunted by ghostly visions, she soon comes to suspect her psychiatrist husband, Myles, of sabotaging her recovery.

Her pursuit of the truth uncovers secrets more terrible than she ever imagined and it soon becomes clear that nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted – not even herself.

Read an Excerpt:

The room was spinning and she realized in surprise that she was on her feet in the kitchen. She looked around in a panic. What was she doing there?

The time on the microwave read 2.23am. She looked down at her hands and found them smeared with blood. Her breath knotted up in her throat. She staggered to the kitchen sink and washed the blood off her hands. Her face felt wet and she reached up to touch it. More blood.

She rushed to the bathroom and, in the mirror, she found a streak of blood going down her face. She washed it off, and found the source – a cut in her hair line. It was only then, when she tried to calm herself a bit, that the pain at the site of the injury grew into her awareness.

With her heart thumping in her ears, she thought of the video Myles had shown her where she had tried to stab him with a knife. She hurried out the bathroom to Joanie who raised her head as Lydia crouched down beside her. She didn’t seem to be hurt or afraid of her, but Lydia ran her hands over her body anyway to make sure she wasn’t injured and bleeding. She wasn’t. She was fine.

Lydia looked up at Zach’s bedroom door. She had no recollection of trying to harm Myles, but there was clear proof that she had. Had she also tried to do something to Zach?

She didn’t know how she had cut herself, but the blood on her hands may not have been all hers.

About the Author: Mehrisa Mex writes mystery-thrillers, neo-noir and international crime. She often appears in her own imagination lit in the chiaroscuro style of film noir and narrating thoughts to herself in moody, hard-boiled tones.

Amazon link for book purchase: http://www.amazon.com/author/mehrisamex

Info links: https://twitter.com/mehrisa_mex

http://www.facebook.com/mehrisamex

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

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VBT – Point of Contact

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Melanie will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

There’d forever been a thread running through Trevor Estes’s life—his son Riley, strong and constant like heartbeat. But when Riley is killed in combat, everything in Trevor’s life unravels into a mess he doesn’t know how to mourn.

Until Jesse Byrne, Riley’s friend and platoon mate, arrives on his doorstep with a box of Riley’s things. Jesse’s all-too-familiar grief provides an unlikely source of comfort for Trevor; knowing he’s not alone is exactly what he needs. Trevor never imagined he’d find someone who fills his heart with hope again. As the pair celebrate Riley’s memory, their unique bond deepens into something irreplaceable—and something neither man can live without.

But diving into a relationship can’t be so simple. Being together means Trevor risking the last link he has to his son…leaving Jesse to wonder if he’ll ever be enough, or if Trevor will always be haunted by the past.

Read an Excerpt:

Trevor reached up to brush Jesse’s tears away, letting his thumb linger along his cheek. “So thank you. Thanks for letting me see my son through you.”

Jesse’s lips trembled. “I miss him. I miss him so much.”

Trevor slid his hand to the back of Jesse’s neck. “I know.”

With a small sob, Jesse reached out to wrap his arms around Trevor, pulling him close. His body was shaking, tremors of grief Trevor knew only too well wracking him from head to toe. All around them the world ebbed and flowed, oblivious to the fact a twenty-year-old boy had been torn from it, leaving behind two people who’d loved him and who now clung together, their shared pain a strange sort of comfort.

Trevor stroked Jesse’s hair as he shuddered against him, biting his own lip against the tears that stung his eyes. This was Jesse’s fight, and Trevor marshaled every ounce of composure he could, determined to be strong in return for this man who’d given him so much.

“It’s okay,” he murmured over and over. “It’s okay to miss him. I miss him, too.”About the Author:

Melanie Hansen likes to consider herself a cynic, but at heart she’s a hopeless romantic. Every morning she gets up before dawn to spend time with her characters, creating stories that are deeply emotional, sometimes heartbreaking, but in the end where love always wins. Melanie’s proud of the fact that two of her books have been named as RT Book Reviews Top Picks.
She grew up with an Air Force dad, ended up marrying a Navy man, and has lived and worked all over the country. Melanie hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009084006829

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelJoyAZ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13505006.Melanie_Hansen

Website: https://melaniehansenbooks.com

Book Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Point-Contact-Melanie-Hansen-ebook/dp/B076ZQR4F9/ref=sr_1_1

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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

Survivors' Dawn Banner 2

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.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

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

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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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

Turquoise Mountain Pre-Order Blitz

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About the Author

 AmazonAuthorPhoto.DianeJReed

USA TODAY bestselling author Diane J. Reed writes happily ever afters with a touch of magic that make you believe in the power of love. Her stories feed the soul with outlaws, mavericks, and dreamers who have big hearts under big skies and dare to risk all for those they cherish. Because love is more than a feeling—it’s the magic that changes everything.

Her latest book is Turquoise Mountain.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book

Title: TURQUOISE MOUNTAIN
Author: Diane J. Reed
Publisher: Bandits Ranch Books
Pages: 270
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Turquoise Mountain

BOOK BLURB

He’s a fierce protector of his land and sacred heritage–and only a strong woman can capture his wild heart.

Dillon Iron Feather is dangerous and he knows it. Hardened by his championship fighting career, he returns to his remote Colorado ranch to heal, only to discover that city girl Tessa Grove is determined to stake her claim to the old mine she inherited on a corner of his land. Stubborn to the bone, Tessa soon digs up precious gems from deep within the earth to use in her custom-made jewelry business. But those stones turn out to be sacred, and sparks fly as they begin to guide her to the secret chambers of Dillon’s heart.

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Book Excerpt

The first meeting between Dillon and Tessa in Turquoise Mountain

(Tessa has traveled all the way from New York to Colorado to find her mine, which happens to be on Dillon’s property)

“I’m Tessa Grove, and when my grandfather passed away, he left his mining claim to me. It doesn’t expire for another six months, which means I have legal title to that mine.”

“You only have mineral rights to a hole in the ground.” Dillon Iron Feather nodded in the direction of the mine. “Which means you can’t set foot on my property.”

“What?” Tessa crossed her arms.

“You heard me. This piece of paper entitles you to dig behind that old wooden door. That’s all. And my land surrounds every inch of it. Which means you’re breaking the law by getting anywhere near that mine. So get lost.”

“Wait, you can’t deny access to what’s legally mine!”

“Can’t I?” Dillon’s face broke into a wry smile. For a moment, his eyes sparkled at the prospect of challenge, lighting them up to a warm, charming brown.

Damn! Tessa cursed to herself. That’s all I need right now is a guy who gets more good looking when he taunts me—

Fuming, she boldly yanked the mining claim and map from his hand to scrutinize them. According to her documents, it looked like her ancestor was the one who originally built Grove Road that led to this mining parcel, which sat right smack dab on the stranger’s property. Okay, so he was right—her quarter acre didn’t include any of his buildings, but it connected to the road. And nowhere did it specify that she was required to get permission from any stranger to use that dirt lane. But how could she convince him of that?

“Listen,” Tessa sighed, “I know it might seem out of the blue that I’m here. But my grandfather meant a lot to me. And this place—this gold mine—it’s…it’s kind of sacred. What I mean is, my great-great-grandfather found it only because a Native American outlaw gave him some powerful medicine. That might sound crazy to you, but it’s true. His name was Iron Feather—”

“Your great-great grandfather knew Iron Feather?”

Tessa nodded. “He was Benjamin Grove the First, and he helped Iron Feather and the Bandits Hollow Gang hide from a posse.” She dug into her purse and held up the sacred owl feather. “All Iron Feather had to give him in return was this, but it was rumored to have, you know—”

“Special powers.”

To Tessa’s amazement, Dillon’s face darkened in thought. He studied the feather for a long time as though it were a precious artifact. Then he looked out over the mountain tops at the threads of garnet in the sky that had begun to spread from the dipping sun. His eyes seemed very far away.

It’s the feather, Tessa realized. He knows something about that feather…

Dillon returned his gaze to Tessa. Yet when he reached for the feather, she seized her moment and surprised him by lunging for his shotgun. She managed to grab it and run several strides, when she whipped around.

“Back off!” She aimed the shotgun straight at him and pumped it awkwardly, barely remembering how from when her grandfather taught her fifteen years ago. “I want to see that mine,” she demanded, her body visibly trembling. “And I’m not leaving till I do.”

Dillon smirked, his gaze tracing her wild blonde hair that had fallen across her face, her blue-green eyes spitting fury. What Tessa hadn’t noticed in her panic, of course, was that her purse had fallen from her shoulder and spilled onto the ground. He crouched carefully to the grass, keeping his eye firmly on the gun barrel, and picked up some of the contents before standing to his feet.

“Where do you expect to go after this if I’ve got your ID and credit cards, city girl?” Dillon smiled, noticing the blush that suffused her cheeks. Her eyes darted to the drivers license and MasterCard he held in his hand, and that was all the opening he needed. With an expertly aimed kick, he knocked the shotgun from her grip and sent it twirling in air, then caught it. He set the butt down on the ground.

“You should know your opponent a whole lot better before you start a fight,” he scolded. “Now you don’t have your purse or a weapon. Fortunately, you’re far too pretty for shooting practice today. But don’t press your luck.”

Another blush warmed Tessa’s cheeks, and she cradled her arms tight to try and stop the tremors. To her astonishment, Dillon threw down his gun and caught up to her within a couple of strides. Before she knew it, she was born aloft by his strong arms, her body next to his warm, hard chest. Despite her kicks and screams, he set her gently on the grass and pulled a long piece of baling twine from his pocket, then proceeded to tie up her hands and feet.

“What the hell are you doing!” Tessa screamed, wriggling on the grass like an angry caterpillar. “First you threatened me with a gun, and now kidnapping? You’re going to face the law for this!”

“For your information, lady, I deliberately shot out the truck mirror and fired the second shot in the air to scare you off. I have no intention of killing anybody today. But I will make sure you have a soft bed and a good meal in your belly, since you appear to be stranded, no matter how hot headed you are.”

With that, he pulled a bandana from his pocket and stuffed it in Tessa’s mouth. She kept thrashing violently while he picked up the scattered items on the meadow and returned them along with her ID and credit card to her purse.

But he slipped the owl feather into his pocket.

Just then, Tessa saw vivid red and blue lights trace over the cabin and barn as the shrill sound of a siren echoed off the hillsides. A police cruiser appeared at the front gate, and an officer stepped out.

“Dammit, Dillon!” The officer called out. “What have you done to this poor woman? For crying out loud, are you that desperate for female company?” He walked boldly toward them. “Good thing Dusty went to town and called 911 after you shot out the mirror on his truck.”

Dillon laughed. “As a matter of fact, Barrett,” he replied, picking up Tessa’s squirming body and heading toward the cruiser, “I was about to bring her to you anyway. She’s lost, and if she hadn’t been so pig-headed about refusing to leave, I would have driven her to town and put her up in a hotel myself without hog-tying her. Watch out—she’s a feisty one.”

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Turquoise Mountain giveaway

Diane J. Reed 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 January 31
  • Winner will be contacted via email on February 1
  • 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

 

 

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