Spritzer by Jon McDonald Tour


Title:  Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance
Author: Jon McDonald
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: March 27
Heat Level: 1 – No Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 75300
Genre: Romance, LGBT, gay, bisexual, contemporary, enemies to lovers, humorous, romance

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Synopsis

Spritzer Vallier is the manager of a large commercial jug winery in Northern California. The new owner, Spritzer’s great-aunt Del, wants to make a quality champagne as well as the cheap wine that is the bedrock of their business. Being a down-to-earth, no-nonsense guy, Spritzer resists Del’s fantastic idea. However, she insists and hires Michel, a French champagne master, to direct the setup of the new venture for four years until Spritzer can take over the running of the winery by himself. Spritzer and Michel must work closely together and right from the beginning it is clear there will be fireworks. Michel tends towards arrogance and control. Spritzer resents Michel’s authority and demands, and is a bit of a stubborn hot-head. Keeping the two in check is Del—steady, caring, and wise, she directs the two toward the accomplishment of her dream. Storms, accidents, and money problems plague the progress of the new winery, but eventually Michel and Spritzer work their way towards a successful conclusion to their efforts. But fate seems to have another destination for them as well, as they begin to fall in love with each other.


Excerpt

Spritzer: A Sparkling Gay Romance Jon McDonald © 2017 All Rights Reserved Spritzer Vallier stood in contemplation, gazing at the strange sight before him—a couple of dozen or more folks, dressed mostly in black, standing at the crest of a hill overlooking a Sonoma vineyard. It stretched out below them as far as one could see in every direction; rows and rows of cultivated grape vines, marching neatly in their straight lines. The early morning mists slowly evaporated in the warmth of the climbing morning sun. Spritzer ran a hand through his dark, curly, unkempt hair, distracted from the immediacy of the memorial service for his recently departed great-uncle Tom, as his mind wandered to the urgent need to be harvesting the glowing, ripe grapes spread out before him. There is a moment when the grapes’ sugars are at their peak, and any delay might harm a season’s harvest. Spritzer had checked the sugar levels in the grapes just yesterday afternoon and decided that they should start the harvest today. But Aunt Del, Tom’s sister, had already arranged for the memorial service to be held this very morning. He shook himself free from those thoughts, and turned his attention back to the droning priest. Spritzer was standing between his great-aunt Del—short for Deloris—and his childhood buddy, and occasional girlfriend, Kan. He turned to his aunt and squeezed her arm, as the priest extolled her brother’s many virtues. “Are you holding up all right?” Spritzer asked gently. Del looked over and smiled. “It’s still hard to believe he’s gone.” “I know.” Kan—blonde, lean, and tomboyish—leaned into Spritzer and whispered, “Nice service, don’t you think?” Spritzer turned to her and said, “Yeah, yeah. But look at all those fuckin’ grapes. The old man would kick off just when I need to start the harvest, right?” Just then, a biplane approached from behind the gathering, flew low over the heads of the crowd, and began to spray the vineyard. Kan looked puzzled. “Isn’t this an odd time to be spraying insecticide, for Christ’s sake?” “That’s not insecticide, that’s Uncle Tom,” Spritzer answered, with a flash of his quirky grin. Kan looked at him questioningly. “Some people want their ashes at sea. Uncle Tom…” He gestured toward the vineyard. “Yuck. It’s going all over the grapes. What’s that going to do to the wine?” Spritzer thought about that for a moment, then answered. “Probably make the horrid supermarket plonk we produce a hell of a lot better than it was when he was alive.” Kan laughed and turned back to the service.


Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Interview

Interview with Jon McDonald, author of Spritzer – A Sparkling Gay Romance

If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?

I would  go to Shakespeare’s time. I would love to know who he was and what the real story is behind the many myths about the author of his plays. Was it really the man named Shakespeare or was it another using his name.

We’ve all got a little voyeurism in us right? If you could be a fly on the wall during an intimate encounter (does not need to be sexual) between two characters, not your own, who would they be?

Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. I’ll bet the conversation would be stunning.

If I were snooping around your kitchen and looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?

Lots of salad makings, Lamb stew, fruit, eggs, bread, and home made soup.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

The ability to materialize anywhere at any time.

If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

I would like to be Sonora, one of the Divas in my novel, Divas Never Flinch. And why? Because she’s rich, talented, snappy and know’s what she wants.

Meet the Author

Jon McDonald lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has seven published novels, a memoir, and three children’s books. His short stories have appeared in a number of prestigious publications. He considers himself a genre-bending author—he loves to take an established literary genre, play with it, and turn it on its head. He has lived abroad and traveled extensively.

Website | Facebook | eMail


Tour Schedule

3/27    Hoards Jumble
3/28    Zipper Rippers


Giveaway

FGMAMTC 

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

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One Bullet by Casey Wolfe Tour



Title:  One Bullet
Author: Casey Wolfe
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: March 27
Heat Level: 1 – No Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 50400
Genre: Romance, LGBT, gay, bisexual, law enforcement, PTSD, parkour, free running, therapy, healing, no explicit sex, slow burn-UST, friends to lovers.

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Synopsis

When Ethan Brant was shot, he found himself dealing with severe PTSD and unable to do his job as a police officer any longer. With the aid of Detective Shawn Greyson, the man who saved his life, Ethan not only finds himself again but discovers love as well. Shawn’s life growing up was less than ideal, however, he overcame that to become who he is today. That doesn’t mean he isn’t missing something in his life. What Shawn hadn’t realized, upon first meeting, was that Ethan could give him all that and more. One bullet changed both their lives.


Excerpt

One Bullet Casey Wolfe © 2017 All Rights Reserved Blood. So much blood. The echo of a gun. The smell of gunpowder. The sharp bite of a bullet. Viscous liquid slipping through his fingers. Darkness. A voice coming through it. Words he should have recognized. Concerned, though not panicked. Surprisingly warm. Warm like the arms he was pulled into. Flashing lights. Red. Red seen behind closed eyes. Like the blood on his hands, on the ground. Cold. Like death. Shooting up in bed, Ethan’s anguished cry died on his lips. He shook, breath ragged as he wiped away the cold sweat from his brow. More sweat covered his body, making goosebumps break out. His mouth was dry, throat sore from screaming. No doubt the neighbors would be complaining to building management again. He wasn’t sure how long it took before his brain provided the vital information that he’d been dreaming. Ethan drew in a deep, shaky breath, letting it out slowly. He sat up fully, repeating the process and attempting to calm himself. It was a dream. Just a dream, he reminded himself. You’re safe. You’re alive. Just a dream. When he felt that he wasn’t about to go into a full-blown panic attack at any moment, Ethan looked at his bedside clock. The glowing blue numbers informed him there wasn’t much point in attempting sleep again. Instead, he switched off the alarm and hauled himself out of bed, trudging toward the bathroom and a cold shower. He pressed a hand to the tiles, leaning into the spray, head down. As water sloshed off his body, Ethan blew out a breath. He rubbed his free hand over his face before shaking his head as though he could shake out the memories. Sighing, he ran his fingers through his brunet hair. It was looking shabby and in need of a trim, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care. He was losing some muscle as well. Much of that was due to his recovery after being in the hospital. He hadn’t been able to run with his parkour buddies until recently or do anything remotely resembling a sit-up. Still, becoming a twenty-six-year-old recluse wasn’t doing him any good either. Ethan wasn’t vain, but he did like to stay in shape. His core was still there, even being as out of sorts as he was. Fingers ran across the small scar to the left of his navel, a reminder of the event months before that continued to shadow his every move. Shutting the shower off, he grabbed a towel and dried his hair the best he could before wrapping the fabric around his waist. Water dripped onto the floor, but he paid it no mind, stopping at the sink to brush his teeth. He caught his reflection in the mirror, his dark-green eyes looking back, haunted. It was going to be a long day. * * * The walk to work wasn’t far—roughly half a mile—so Ethan never found a point in taking public transport. Besides, the fresh air did him good. Well, as fresh as the air could be in the city. In any case, it was good for him to stretch his legs and clear his head. Unless the weather was poor, he gladly took the extra time to walk, and today was a clear and balmy summer day typical of Washington State. Perhaps given how his day had started, he should have caught the bus. This was evident the second he looked up and saw a beat cop walking down the sidewalk toward him. Ethan froze momentarily. He tugged at the single strap across his chest, shifting the bag on his back. His eyes darted about, checking traffic and slipping across the street before the cop reached him. The move must have looked suspicious as Ethan found himself approached by a police cruiser. It paced alongside him, and the officer in the passenger seat called out to him. “Hey, buddy.” Ethan bit back the I’m not your buddy that was on the tip of his tongue and, instead, ignored him until the officer raised his voice. “Yeah?” he inquired, not stopping. “Mind if we chat a minute?” “Yeah, I do,” Ethan answered, turning sideways to slide past some people. “I need to get to work.” “It’ll just take a minute,” the officer insisted in a tone meant to make him obey. It was too bad that it didn’t work on someone like Ethan. Having been a cop himself, he knew the tricks. He also knew the law. There was no probable cause for them to detain him, so he needn’t stop at all. “Sorry. Can’t help you.” The cruiser stopped, the officer getting out and moving into his path. “Sir.” Ethan backpedaled a few steps. He held up an arm, making a barrier between himself and the cop. He noted the man’s partner getting out of the driver’s side, walking to the back of the cruiser, and hovering there. “Officer,” Ethan spoke as clearly as he could, “my name is Ethan Brant. There are standing orders within the department that any contact with me should be reported into dispatch immediately.” He was attempting to stay calm, but it was difficult as his muscles started to twitch. The cop stepped forward. “Wait, wait, no…” Ethan began to panic, backing away. He was trying to get out the prepared speech as he was told to say it. Neither of the officers seemed as though they wanted to listen. “You’re not supposed to touch me. You’re supposed to keep your distance and call it in. Please.” The moment a hand was laid on him, Ethan snapped. He shoved the cop away, taking off at a dead run. A car slammed its brakes just in time to avoid hitting him, blocking his path. Instinct took over and Ethan slid right across the hood. He could hear the call for backup, but all he wanted was to vanish. Free running with his friends may have been something he hadn’t done much since his accident, thanks to his long recovery, but muscle memory kicked in, and he let his mind go. He ran between shops, a dumpster on the lowered backlot catching his eye. He cleared the safety railing without slowing, running across the top of the dumpster. With momentum, Ethan leapt off the other side, flipping before landing lightly on his feet. He came out of the connecting alley into a shopping plaza, wide open for him to work with. Ethan made to turn left, spotting the cruiser that screamed up onto the sidewalk. In midrun he extended his foot out, springing off a bench and pushing his body in the opposite direction. Using the retaining wall of the decorative plant beds to avoid the crowd, he managed to get distance between them. Ahead there was a set of stairs going down toward the park, and rather than avoid them, he used the terrain to his advantage. Diving forward, he cleared the stone rail, his palms touching the rail on the opposite side. He tucked his legs, missing both rails as he swung them forward, feet landing lightly on the ground. Despite protesting muscles, he repeated the same move for the next stairway. As he kept running, he realized where he was. It didn’t matter that another set of cops had come in from the opposite end of the shopping plaza because Ethan wasn’t planning to use the traditional entrance. A brick wall with a switchback of stairs was at his right, and that was his means of escape. Forgetting the stairs—which would only slow him down—he brought his left foot up to a railing, using it to launch him at the wall. He gripped the ledge above him, bringing his knees up to push with the balls of his feet. Muscling up made him grunt at the pain coursing through his abdomen, a move he shouldn’t have been doing just yet. Somewhere in the back of his head, he was aware of the cops yelling in disbelief, getting their colleagues on the radio to update them on Ethan’s direction of travel. Ethan didn’t plan on the police being able to find him fast enough before he completely disappeared. He ran across the street, jumping up and over the wooden bench in his path. Well aware of the laptop in his backpack, rather than simply tucking and rolling, he shifted his weight midair so he would land on his hip and leg, rolling through to his feet. The entrance to the subway was right there, and he slid down the metal railing in the center of the stairwell. Ethan’s breathing was ragged. It had been too long since he had a run like that; his muscles burned. He leaned a forearm on a pillar, waiting for the next train to pass through the subway. He just needed to sit, to center himself. A crowded morning train car wasn’t the best place, but he didn’t have much of a choice. Even the strap of his backpack felt constraining across his chest. He yanked the strap over his head and set the bag onto the ground at his feet. Ethan took a deep lungful of air. Just as he thought he was safe, someone grabbed his arm. Ethan simply reacted, using his strength to swing the man around to collide with the pillar. It was then Ethan saw his attacker was a cop, but he missed the officer’s partner. Volts of electricity cascaded through his body, causing Ethan’s legs to buckle, and he went down on the tiled platform. He was helpless to stop the officer who put a knee in his back, grabbing his arms. Panic seeped into every pore. The click of the handcuffs as the cold metal wrapped around his wrist made him struggle. It was in vain; a second shocking jolt was sent through him. “Get off him!” a man ordered. “Now!” It took Ethan a moment to recognize the smooth cadence and authoritative tone. He craned his neck, tears stinging his eyes, to gaze on Detective Shawn Greyson. When the officers protested, Shawn held up his badge and glowered. “Stand down,” he growled, physically removing them. “We just chased this kid all over the damn city!” one argued. “Just ’cause yer a detective—” “I said back off!” Shawn yelled, eyes like fire and his entire presence radiating danger. It was more than enough to have both of them doing as they were told. Shawn immediately crouched next to Ethan and unhooked the cuffs. Shawn helped him to sit, running his hands up and down Ethan’s arms. “Hey, you’re alright. You’re safe,” Shawn assured him, voice low and easy. Ethan met deep blue-gray eyes, heart-wrenching at the sight of the friendly face. “Just focus on your breathing, okay? I’ve got you.” Ethan nodded, thankful for the watchful gaze that allowed him to concentrate on centering himself. He listened to Shawn’s steady voice, not even focusing on the words so much as the calming tone. Shawn’s touch was reassuring, hands continuing their path up and down Ethan’s arms before grasping his shoulders. “That’s it,” Shawn spoke. “There you go.” Ethan took a deep breath, looking at him once more. Shawn smiled encouragingly. “Better?” Ethan gave a slight nod, not trusting his voice just yet. “Okay. Take your time.”


Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Interview

Interview with Casey Wolfe, author of One Bullet

When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?

I don’t quite remember the inspiration, but it was the fifth or sixth grade.  I wrote a short horror story about my friends and I being trapped in the mall with a serial killer.  Funny enough, as a project for a creative writing class in high school, my friend and I did a rewrite of the original concept.  I still have a copy, and it’s actually not half bad.  I don’t even like the horror genre.  Go figure.

Another one I remember writing back then was a short story about my friends and I going to NASA, ending up on a shuttle that was on it’s way to the space station, and we had to thwart some bad guy from trying to destroy the station.  I believe that one was likely inspired in part by the old Disney movie “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.”

I’m showing my age a bit, but I know there’s got to be copies on a floppy disk somewhere.

Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?

I write whenever I get a free minute.  Although, I tend to do the bulk of my writing late at night, into the early morning hours.

Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?

I outline whatever I have for plot, and I create character bios for both reference and exploring the characters.  Both of which I add to as things go along.  I use pictures and music as inspiration as well.  Because I outline, it allows me to skip around and work on what I want at any given time, rather than writing from start to finish.

Where did the desire to write LGBTQIA+ stories come from?

Simple: representation.

How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?

It depends on what I’m writing.  Sometimes they’ll be a lot of prep – like working on a historical – but mostly there’s just small things to look up as I go along.  As far as creating an authentic voice and characterization, people watching is really helpful.  Also, making up character bios before even starting to write helps me get the basics down of who these people are.  Like with any relationship, we get to know each other as things go on, and characters grow and change into their own people, all on their own.

What’s harder, naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?

Titles are horrible!  I either get a title right away with the initial idea, or it’s a last minute revelation.  “One Bullet” falls into the latter category.

How do you answer the question “Oh, you’re an author…what do you write?”

This is the part where you insert the gif of Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead) saying “Stuff… things.”

What does your family think of your writing?

My family’s always been very supportive with my writing.  My mom, especially, has always pushed me to do what I love and to give it my all.  She was even a beta reader for “One Bullet.”

Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.

Currently, I’m working on an urban fantasy trilogy – all books at the same time, because I’m apparently insane.  It follows the same group of friends on a modern version of the epic quest, while each book focuses on a different couple.

Also, waiting in the wings is a magical realism novel set during WW2, which really plays into my history nerd.  Right now I’m just working on plot, characters, and research.  Lots and lots of research.

Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?

Write.  Simple as that.  You’ll never improve if you don’t work at it.  You don’t have to show anyone what you’re working on.  Just stretch those fingers and write.

Meet the Author

Author of gay romantic fiction, from contemporary to paranormal and everything in between. For Casey, existence equals writing. History nerd, film enthusiast, music lover, avid gamer, and just an all-around geek. Add in an unapologetic addiction to loose-leaf tea and you get the general picture. Married, with furry four-legged children, Casey lives happily in the middle of nowhere Ohio.

Website | Facebook | eMail | Tumblr

 


Tour Schedule

3/27    MM Good Book Reviews       
3/28    Dog-Eared Daydreams          
3/28    BFD Book Blog
3/29    Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words           
3/30    Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents           


Giveaway

FGMAMTC 

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

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Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter Blog Tour


Beauty of the Beast
by Rachel L. Demeter
Fairy Tale Retellings, #1
Release Date: March 15, 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Fairy Tale Retellings, Gothic Romance
#beautyofthebeasttour


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🥀 Book Blurb 🥀
Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist. A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago. A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more… Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice. Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist. Disclaimer: This is an edgy retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

🎬 Book Trailer 🎬


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🥀 Excerpt 🥀

~ The East Tower ~

Arms sprang out from the darkness. They spun her full circle and slammed her body against the king’s portrait. Isabelle gasped, more in shock than from pain, as she stared into Adam’s deformed face. The lantern flickered behind his massive form, casting his cloaked body in silhouette. But she saw enough to know he was far from pleased. Rage and frustration radiated from his body like a palpable force.

“I warned you to stay out of here,” he said, his voice dangerously cold and deep. Those rugged vocals vibrated against her body and seeped into her marrow. “What part of forbidden didn’t you comprehend?” His voice lashed out from the darkness like a hurtled knife, and the word “forbidden” seemed to whisper another meaning altogether. Isabelle tried to answer but failed to find her voice. Indeed, her vocal cords had turned to solid ice, as numb and cold as the blood rushing through her veins. She couldn’t breathe; she felt like she was suffocating.

“My mother gave me that musical box on my fourth birthday,” he said, the sensual lull of his voice causing the fine hairs on her nape to stand erect. “And now your recklessness has destroyed it. Have you nothing to say?”

“I—I’m sorry.” He offered no reply; only the ragged sound of his breathing and the hammering blizzard broke the silence. “Please—I didn’t mean any harm.”

She struggled under the weight of Adam’s colossal body and battled to free herself. He merely gave a low chuckle and pressed her firmly against the portrait. He looked otherworldly at that moment, like an angel of death seeking vengeance. Both beautiful and monstrous, his cool, sapphire eyes overflowed with warring emotions. In spite of his harsh and ruthless exterior, she detected a quaver in his voice and saw that his large, cloaked shoulders trembled. The darkness in his soul cast a shadow that embraced her; as she peered up at him, she knew he was drowning in the turbulent waters of a past time.

“What a disappointment,” he went on, his voice growing deeper still, mocking her words from so many days ago, “You’re like any other woman.”

“I—I’m sorry. Please, Adam. I—” Her gaze shot past his body and over the wreckage of a past life. She thought of her private chamber again—of the stale perfumes and outdated garments.

Her flight or fight instinct seized hold of her. She attempted to scramble free, but he merely grabbed her shoulder and whirled her back against the portrait. Gloves wrapped his hands; his long, silk-clad fingers grasped her shoulder and kept her firmly in place.

He stood intimately close.

Far too close.

As close as Raphael had been that night.

“Going somewhere, ma belle? After you’ve worked so hard to find my East Tower?”

Hands like two steel bands held her wrists in place. Hot breaths, which faintly smelled of wine, seared her cheeks and assaulted her senses. Her breasts flattened against the pressure of his strong chest, and she felt that same chest swell and deflate in perfect sync with her own. One large hand slipped down her elbow and glided across her extended arm. The lush material of his gloves drew a shudder from her heaving chest. His breathing grew more ragged, shallower, and the erratic beat of his heart banged against her own.

Anger and desire warred on his face, twisting his features into a mess of both monster and man. “Find anything of interest, aside from my musical box? Come, come. You went through such great trouble to get here,” he asked, his voice now threaded with both anger and something else.

Yes, Isabelle recognized that something else. It was the same note that had entered Raphael’s voice that night…

She attempted to duck under his arm, but he moved swiftly, capturing her in the crook of his elbow. Reeling her toward him, he emitted a low, haunting chuckle that swelled the eastern tower to its rafters. She was back where she’d started—pinned against the portrait, Adam’s body serving as a flesh-and-blood blockade.

Hunger radiated from him, enfolding her in a current of sizzling power. His silk-clad hand grazed the curve of her breast as it moved down her body in a painfully slow caress. Even more alarming was her reaction to him. Her treacherous body responded with a crush of hot and cold pulsating waves. Then he whispered a taunt in her ear, and his liquid baritone slid down her backbone like honey; it swirled inside her, finding its home in her most intimate area.

He leaned closer still. His face’s uneven skin brushed against her neck, the black waves of his hair tickled her chin… His thick arousal expanded against her, reminding her of what he was capable of—and of her sheer vulnerability.

His lips teased the base of her throat. Cursing her traitorous body, Isabelle gasped at the gentle scraping of his teeth. His tongue and lips tormented her throbbing pulse—just barely, stirring her skin in a mere ghost of a touch.



🥀 Excerpt 🥀

~ Adam and Isabelle’s ballroom dance ~

Isabelle entered the ballroom at precisely eight o’clock. Moonlight, bone white and lustrous, threaded through the grand windows like prying fingers. The illumination set the medallion flooring aglow. Columns lined the oval-shaped room and graced a domed ceiling. A handsome grandfather clock towered in the corner, ticking off the seconds with a pulsating drone. Candelabras reached around the edge of the circular room and lurked like quiet sentries. Their wavering candles mated with the moonbeams and threw golden patches across the intricate marble floor.

Incredible silence surrounded Isabelle, pressed into her very being, as she slipped into the heart of the ballroom. She could almost hear the gay whispers of ladies and the delicate swishing of their lace fans. She smelled the sweet scents of their exotic perfumes and could hear the distant, ghostly echo of a pianoforte. And she knew that, despite the castle’s neglected state, it had once been a place of unrivaled beauty and glamour.

Much like Adam himself.

Isabelle spun around full circle, her mind transporting to a past era that brimmed with elegance and luxury. She felt the darkly romantic pull of the castle and its numberless mysteries… felt herself falling in love with its shadows and secrets. Dust motes danced in the shafts of moonbeams and wavering candles. Faintly she hummed beneath her breath, testing the acoustics in the spacious room. Her voice carried, swirling around her in an echoing cyclone.

 

Then she came to a standstill as a soft touch grazed her bare shoulder. Large, silk-clad hands rotated her body with a startling gentleness. A breath escaped her lips as she drank in Adam’s proud, towering form. Her mind slipped back to the previous day and night—to their sensual kiss in the stables.

A navy, double-breasted coat hugged the muscular curves of his body, offset by shimmering golden buttons. They looked like small glowing suns floating against a sky of rustic blue.

He resembled a flesh-and-blood prince. Proud. Formidable. In full command of everything and everyone in the room. Even a hint arrogant. Her heart hammered, threatening to burst. Suddenly she felt like she’d been thrust into a world of magic and romantic hushed secrets. The scars look out of place on his smirking features, she mused with a pang of sadness. And dressed in a cascade of cornflower damask and lace, the sparkling tiara half-buried in her curls, she felt like a princess.

Then it began.

Adam took a deft step backward, sank into a shallow bow, and outstretched his gloved hand. Isabelle grasped her flowing skirts and dipped into a curtsy, her heart madly pitter-pattering. Feeling like a young girl during her first ball, she accepted the invitation and abandoned her silk-encased palm in his own. Strength surged through his fingers, sending chords of awareness thrumming through her body.

Am I dreaming? If so, then let me sleep forever.

A muscled arm snaked around her torso and tugged her intimately close. Everything seemed to fade away while the heat of their bodies mingled as one. Her heart banged against her ribs as she sought the depths of his eyes. At this range, flicks of gold contrasted against his sky-blue irises. Much of the sadness seemed to have vanished, leaving an almost boyish delight in its wake. The right side of his face was devastatingly handsome, his hair so black it drank the twinkling candles.

Keeping her body pressed to his own, he swung her into the scandalous waltz dance. Her small fingers curled around his bicep as he lifted the other hand in midair. He swept her across the smooth marble floor, twirling her body, his large hand securely on the center of her back, his footwork extravagant and exact. Cords of muscle bunched and slid beneath her fingers, and light from the candelabras flashed over the mismatched sides of his face.

Isabelle felt clumsy—as if she had sprouted two left feet. She’d spent her youth traveling the countryside and coastline with Papa—not blushing behind a lace fan or dancing in lavish ballrooms. Adam, however, danced with a haunting grace; his movements executed with a fine, cultured polish. He clearly hadn’t been raised in the back of a wagon, she mused. Prince-like and regal, he’d danced this dance many times before; maybe it had been in another place and another life, but his confident, masterful steps gave the truth away.

Isabelle struggled to keep up with his graceful strides, though she knew she was making a fool of herself. She stumbled as Adam swept her into an unexpected twirl again; he reeled her back to his side, so they stood intimately close, then chuckled in her ear with the audacity of a pirate. The decadent sound rippled through her veins and mingled with the wine. His lips pressed against the shell of her ear, and the whisper of his warm breaths sent chills thrumming down her backbone.

I am falling for him—falling fast and hard.

Indeed. She’d been falling for him for some time.

“You’re a dreadful dancer,” he murmured against her ear. Paired with the husky baritone of his voice, the insult sounded rather like an endearment.

 

Regardless, she returned the blight with a swift and playful vengeance. “Perhaps my partner is to blame.” She cocked her head back and captured his bright gaze. He offered no retort aside from the arch in his thick brow.

Her face reached the height of his shoulder and not a centimeter more. She curled her head against the security of his chest and inhaled his essence with a reverent breath. A tangle of emotions welled in her gut, blurring everything but the moment… everything but the exquisite feel of Adam holding her. As he swept her across the smooth marble floor, the world whirled by in a beautiful, dreamlike mosaic.

She felt like she’d fallen into one of her fairy tales.

“Oh, Adam… I never want this moment to end,” she heard herself whisper against his coat.

“It doesn’t have to.”

Adam shifted back and forth in a tantalizing rocking motion, slow dancing to a melody only he could hear. As she melted into his embrace, the candelabras crackled and seductively flashed, accompanying each of their steps. Then he bowed his chin and hummed a beautiful tune against her forehead. It sounded achingly sweet, like a tender lullaby from the depths of a dream world. The force of his vocals resonated deep inside her, massaging Isabelle’s body with delicious caresses. Her heart resembled a drum—and she trembled in time with its beat. That immaculate baritone stoked her imagination, igniting an inferno deep within her soul.

Closing her eyes, she rubbed her cheek against his coat’s rugged material and sparkling buttons, abandoning herself to his rhythmic sways and husky baritone. Drawing her into its sultry, comforting depths, his voice surrounded her like liquid velvet. With increasing pressure, his palm swept up the length of her back, down and up, tickling her spine with each soothing movement. Heated breaths wafted against her hairline, stirring the curls about her shoulders. His every gesture felt numbingly gentle, executed with a startling grace. Isabelle had to remind herself to breathe, lest she faints from the pleasure of it all.

Emotion claimed the best of her. Isabelle exhaled a shaky breath as tears singed the corners of her eyes.

They danced like that for close to an hour, moving in perfect unison to the calming melody of Adam’s voice, the slick medallion floor sliding beneath their feet like some magical carpet. The marble ground reflected their waltzing images with the ease of a looking glass.

Everything felt dreamlike. Peaceful. Beautiful.



🥀 Meet the Author 🥀

Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of fourteen years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love. Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul. Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness. Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon | Instagram | Pinterest

🥀Enter the Giveaway🥀
 Rachel L. Demeter is giving away an Ebook copy of Finding Gabriel directly to your Kindle

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FOREVER MINE by Erin Nicholas Blitz






Title: FOREVER MINE
Author: Erin Nicholas
Series: Opposites Attract, #2
On Sale: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $3.99 USD

The second book in New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas’s series about three geeky girls and the hunky guys who fall for them.

Maya Goodwin doesn’t believe in holding back. Ever. As a cop, she never hesitated to throw herself into harm’s way to save someone. Even after an injury on the job forces her to retire, she’s not afraid to keep risking it all to get the life she wants. With a new career teaching martial arts to kids already underway, she’s looking forward to the future – and taking a chance on the unbelievably hot Dr. Alex Nolan.

Maya – daring and spontaneous – is the exact opposite of what Alex always thought he wanted. But when a nine-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up on his doorstep, Maya is the one who helps them hold it together. With love on the line, will the guy who’s always played it safe be willing to take the biggest risk of all?



EXCERPT

Alex laughed. He liked Maya. The thought hit him directly in the gut.
Maya smiled brightly, and he admitted that he was intensely attracted too. Now fast attraction—that he’d experienced before. But it had been a long time since even that had happened.
“I’m Dr. Alex Nolan. I’m on staff at Boston Children’s Hospital. I’m on their website if you want to look me up.”
Maya suddenly frowned. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.”
“Of what?”
“Googling pediatricians and finding out who you are after the mall the other day,” Maya said.
Alex raised an eyebrow. “Wouldn’t that be a little creepy?”
“Probably,” she agreed. “Maybe that’s why I didn’t do it.”
He laughed. “Well, to further decrease the creep factor, I do have a kid,” he said. “A daughter. Charlotte. We call her Charli. She’ll be ten next month. She’s very into superheroes, GR, and swords, and I know nothing about any of that. I liked the demonstration at the mall and thought I’d come check out your studio.”
“So you’re wanting to sign her up,” Maya said with a nod. “Okay, not creepy at all.”
“Uh…” Alex knew this was going to sound strange. “Actually I want to take the class myself.”
Maya frowned. “These classes won’t teach you about superheroes exactly,” she said. “They are kind of a combination of stage fighting and martial arts and self-esteem workshops.”
“I know.” He’d been on the website. Which is how he’d found out more about the studio. And where he’d stared at Maya’s photo before going in to look up more about her on the internet. Which was how he found out that her classes had won some local awards, she’d been a brilliant cop—who had not, incidentally, been fired for beating someone up—and that she regularly blogged about superheroes and their fandom and the psychology of that fandom. He’d bookmarked her page immediately.
“And the things you do in class sounds like the perfect bonding activity for Charli and me. I’ll take the class and then go home and teach her.”
Maya looked puzzled. “Why not just bring her to class?”
“She…” He swallowed. Charli would love Maya. Hell, if she saw Maya with those pointy-weapon-things, she’d want to be Maya.
But Alex had only seen Maya twice, and he’d already witnessed her get hit with a Bo staff, punched in the ribs, and cut with some kind of sharp hand weapon. Which reminded him that she’d been bleeding.
He looked down, but the bleeding had already slowed or stopped. Which was what happened when a person with normal blood got cut. But Charli didn’t have normal blood. She didn’t bleed faster, but she would bleed longer—because of the genetic mutation he had passed on to her.
He’d told her mother that Charli should be able to try whatever she wanted. But he’d also told her he’d keep Charli safe. If Charli took classes here, he would have to fill Maya and her staff in on the hemophilia and precautions and treatment…
“She has some special needs,” he said, cringing a little as he said it, knowing that Maya might easily jump to conclusions that were not at all correct. But it didn’t matter what she thought. This was the right thing for Charli.
But Maya didn’t even blink. “Okay,” she said. “I understand. Maybe…” But she trailed off while watching him thoughtfully without completing the sentence.
“Maybe what?” he asked.
“Maybe I could teach you and your daughter a private Super You class.”
He was surprised at her offer, but more—he was tempted. Which meant he had to say no. The timing for meeting a gorgeous, intriguing woman couldn’t have been worse. “I think a class with lots of other people, especially kids, would be better.”
“Why?”
Maya was direct. He liked that. And he could return the favor. “Because you look just as good in workout pants as you do in leather.”
Her eyes widened in surprise just a beat before her smile widened. “And that’s a problem?”
“It is when I’m trying to give all of my extra time and attention to my daughter.”
She studied him for a moment. “Okay,” she finally said with a nod. “And once you see the class, if you change your mind, she’s always welcome.”
Alex relaxed. “Thanks.”
“You’re not going to feel funny taking a class with a bunch of kids?”
“I love kids,” he told her.
“What about the tights and cape?”
“Tights and cape?” Alex repeated.
“The costume,” she said with a nod.
“Thought the participants all helped create their own character,” he said, realizing she was messing with him.
“They do.”
“Well, there’s no way in hell I would create a character that would wear tights.”
Maya’s gaze wandered over him, head to toe, before she said, Too bad.”



BUY THE BOOK HERE



THE OPPOSITES ATTRACT SERIES

COMPLETELY YOURS, #1
FOREVER MINE, #2




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erin Nicholas is the author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines and happily ever afters. She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they’re shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).


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A SMALL-TOWN BRIDE by Hope Ramsay Release Week Blitz






Title: A SMALL-TOWN BRIDE
Author: Hope Ramsay
Series: Chapel of Love, #2
On Sale: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD

The second book in USA Today bestselling author Hope Ramsay’s Chapel of Love contemporary romance series about a small-town wedding chapel is perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber, Robyn Carr, and Sherryl Woods.

Amy Lyndon is tired of being the Poor Little Rich Girl of Shenandoah Falls. In her prominent family, she’s the ordinary one – no Ivy League education and no powerful career. But when her father tries to marry her off, she knows it’s finally time to stand up for herself, despite the consequences. Now that she’s cut off from the family fortune, her first challenge is to fight her attraction to her handsome new boss.

When Amy shows up looking for work with his landscaping crew, Dusty McNeil thinks there’s no way such a pampered princess will ever get her hands dirty. But as Amy proves him wrong and gets down to the nitty gritty, Dusty’s admiration turns to like, then lust – and then love. But can a high-society woman like Amy ever fall for a man like him?

PRAISE FOR THE CHAPEL OF LOVE SERIES
“Ramsey charms in her second Chapel of Love contemporary…[and] wins readers’ hearts with likable characters, an engaging plot (and a hilarious subplot), and a well-deserved happy ending.” –Publishers Weekly on A SMALL-TOWN BRIDE

“With skillful precision, Ramsay nails the political dynamics and small-town vibe and launches an endearing series fans will savor.” –Library Journal on A CHRISTMAS BRIDE

“[Ramsay’s] pun-filled, witty dialogue fits each realistic character and every lushly vivid scene perfectly.  Watching love bloom for this opposites-attract couple, the downtrodden heroine and hero with major issues with his Kennedy-esque family, is poignant and impactful.” –RT Book Reviews on A CHRISTMAS BRIDE



EXCERPT
“Hon,  are  you  all  right?  You’ve  been  in  there  a while, and I . . . ”
Amy opened the door. “I’m fine.” Her voice wobbled. She would not ask to borrow the phone. There had to be another way.
“No, I don’t think so,” Gracie said. “You come out and have your eggs and bacon.”
Oh crap. What was she supposed to do now?
“I . . . I . . . don’t. I mean I can’t . . . ” She let go of a long, trembling breath. “Daddy locked me out of the house yes- terday and told me I had to marry Grady Carson. Then he took all the money out of my checking account. And I probably should call Grady, but I have to borrow your phone.” The words came out in a terrible, hoarse whisper.
She expected Gracie to yell at her for using the bath- room without having any intention of buying food. Or, worse yet, to take her into the back room and hand her a phone. But instead Gracie draped her arm over Amy’s shoulder. “Come get your breakfast. You can pay me for it later, after you sort things out with your father. And no woman should ever marry someone she has second thoughts about. Shame on your daddy.”
The tense muscles in Amy’s neck and shoulders relaxed as Gracie led her to the counter, where a plate of eggs and bacon awaited. “Eat your breakfast. You’ll feel better.”
Amy did as she was told, downing the eggs and bacon like a starving person. She had no idea where her next meal would come from, so she allowed Gracie to refill her coffee cup several times while the diner filled up with the usual Saturday crowd.
Pippa Custis, the owner of Ewe and Me, the yarn shop in town, came in for a bowl of oatmeal.
Walter Braden came in holding hands with his  new wife, the former Poppy Marchand. For a couple of old peo- ple, they were sweet. They ordered two big breakfasts and spent the entire time gazing into each other’s eyes.
Alicia Mulloy, the hygienist at Dr. Dinnen’s office, or- dered three different kinds of donuts. Amy wondered if Dr. Dinnen knew about Alicia’s sugar habit.
And then Dusty McNeil strolled through the door and turned Saturday into Man Candy Monday. Wow. He was like some unholy combination of Thor and Captain Amer- ica all rolled into one gorgeous example of maleness.
Gracie swooped down on him with a cup of coffee and a plate of eggs and bacon, as if she’d been expecting his arri- val. He gave Gracie a smile full of laugh lines and dimples and white teeth. And then he turned toward Amy.
Unlike the other customers, he didn’t pretend she was invisible. Oh no. He gave her a long, assessing gaze that made Amy’s pulse jump. Dusty McNeil had a badass repu- tation as a player who preferred the showgirls and cocktail waitresses who worked up at the casinos in Charles Town, West Virginia.
So why was he ogling her?
She had no idea, but she returned the favor. Who wouldn’t enjoy gazing at that chiseled face or those bright baby blues or all that golden blond hair?
And that’s when a crazy idea popped into her desperate head. Maybe she could invite herself over to his place for some Netflix and chill. Spending a night with him wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice. And it would probably be way more fun (and warmer) than sleeping in the Z4.
Or sleeping with Grady for that matter.
But no. Initiating a booty call would not be the right
next step. She’d chosen to sleep in her car instead of falling back on a man. She’d taken a principled position. So she pushed the ridiculous idea of sleeping with Dusty McNeil out of her mind and concentrated on her coffee mug while she tried to figure out what her next step ought to be.
She came up with exactly nothing.
“Y’all seem to be busy up at Eagle Hill Manor these days,” Gracie said to Dusty. And since Amy didn’t have anything better to do, she eavesdropped.
“Yep. Ever since that article in Brides. Willow’s hiring another event planner. Know anyone who might be inter- ested?”
Gracie shook her head. “No, but I’ll keep my eye out.”
A job.
Why hadn’t Amy thought of that before?
A job would solve all her problems. And becoming an event planner sounded like the perfect fit except for the fact that she had zero real work experience. But she had been her sorority’s social secretary and had planned all kinds of themed parties and charitable events. She’d even had a hand in helping several of her sorority sisters with their wedding plans.
This was perfect. She’d get a job instead of a husband.
And wouldn’t that blow Daddy’s mind?




BUY THE BOOK HERE




THE CHAPEL OF LOVE SERIES

A FAIRYTALE BRIDE, #.5
A CHRISTMAS BRIDE, #1
A SMALL-TOWN BRIDE, #2
HERE COMES THE BRIDE, #3




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hope Ramsay is a USA Today bestselling author of heartwarming contemporary romances.  Her books have won critical acclaim and publishing awards. She is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her Southern heroes. She has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats. She lives in Virginia where, when she’s not writing, she’s knitting or playing her forty-year-old Martin guitar.


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TENDER ECHOES by Reily Garrett Release Tour

TENDER ECHOES

A Dark Prequel to Digital Velocity (The McAllister Justice Series Book 1)
by Reily Garrett


Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Theft of spirit is no one’s birthright.

A quirk of her X chromosome furnished Alexis with an edge few others enjoyed. After fate plunged her into orphan status and an intolerable foster home forced her to the streets, a group of prostitutes sheltered her from their vicious pimp. Seeing something special within, they nurtured and shielded her from their harsh reality until she could forge her own path in life.

Destiny frequently takes us back to our roots. Lexi’s return journey begins when a serial killer attacks one of her adopted sisters. Relying on courage and wit, she must stay a step ahead and secure evidence to free her family from a psychopathic murderer.

“Jesus, Charlie. Hold on. I’ll get you to a hospital.” Lexi swallowed hard against the rising tide of acid degrading her throat’s lining as the unfolding scene corrupted her sanity. Pressure against the makeshift bandage on Charlie’s belly wound yielded a deeper crimson soaking her jacket, the provisional dressing secured by fingers encased in a thickening, sticky glove. So much blood.

This could’ve been Lexi’s fate—stabbed, slashed, disfigured for all time, blood forming rivulets pooling in the alley’s filth. Maroon puddles mingled with body fluids common to alleys sheltering the homeless as if destined to couple in a macabre, virulent concoction.

“R-run, Lexi. D-don’t let him make you a w-whore. I wasn’t—strong enough. Y-you were never p-part of the street life.” Trash and other filth from the narrow passageway cushioned Charlie’s bruised and battered head. One front tooth was missing, probably swallowed, while blood seeped from jagged slashes on her cheeks and brow, both career enders in the event she survived. “You shouldn’t be here. It was a mistake to text you, but the cops wouldn’t believe us girls.”

“Did your pimp do this, Charlie? What’s his real name?” Tell me so I can help you.

Remnants of a cardboard box, a vagabond’s homemade privy, retained odors of the dispossessed, rivaled only by the excrement saturating every molecule of thickened air drawn into her lungs. This was no place and no way to die.

“Yeah—said I stole from a customer. But I didn’t. The b-bastard just wanted a freebie.” Otherworldly pain glazed eyes forecasting a nonexistent future while icy wind leached color from a once-beautiful face now smeared with crimson streaks and pain. “Won’t tell you his name. I didn’t want to die alone. You’re f-free. You made it.”

“No, Charlie. I’ll get help. Lie still while I secure a pressure dressing.” This late at night, there’d be few cars to flag down and no foot traffic from which to enlist help. She was forced to rely on emergency personnel who’d classify the incident as NHI, no human involved.

Terror-induced flashbacks spewed forth of a stranger offering refuge to a teenager standing on a precipice, a choice. She’d first thought him relatively handsome, not understanding the slimy base of his character. She’d had no experience with pimps. Still, something inside steered her away from his pleasant façade. Perhaps she’d sensed his underlying character. Instinct had directed her to the unknown, where a small group of prostitutes offered shelter and nurtured her mind.

With one hand, Lexi freed her belt and maneuvered it under the fallen girl’s tiny waist amid groans and mewling cries. Youth and a livelihood from flatbacking necessitated a svelte figure, which facilitated her efforts to cinch the leather strap tight. Lexi reached for the cell clutched in Charlie’s hand, knowing the late hour meant a longer wait for help. Her fingers, covered in sticky crimson ropes of blood, tangled briefly with Charlie’s, a squishy squeeze to lend encouragement. Another bolus of acid rose in her throat.

“No.” One word spoken from the disembodied voice behind her could flash freeze Hell and instigate the formation of ice crystals in any world, under any circumstance.

AmazonB&NKoboGoodreads

COMING APRIL 24!

“Digital Velocity is a fast-paced romantic suspense thriller that sophisticatedly weaves drama, excitement, grit, raw emotions and mystery. Garrett takes her readers on a journey where suspense and romance are taken up several notches as she unfolds and reveals the identity of a murderer that is on the loose. With her vivid prose, Garrett entices readers to see the bond that is brewing between Detective Ethan McAllister and his unlikely informant.” Michelle Tan, RT Book Reviews

Keyboard prodigy, Lexi Donovan has risen from teenage orphan of the streets to complete independence with little help along the way. When a friend is threatened, Lexi’s anonymous message sends police into a firefight, leading to a wounded cop.

Detective Ethan McAllister’s well-ordered life turned upside down the day an obscure text message led to a sexual predator’s identity. Since then, Callouston PD’s finest can’t trace the elusive hacker. The latest tip leads him to a brutal mutilation and a riddle indicating the identity of the next murder victim.

The dark net houses a playground for the morally depleted and criminally insane. When Lexi discovers the killer’s digital betting arena, she finds herself centered in a cyber stalker’s crosshairs bearing equal talent.

Street life strengthened Lexi while toughening her protective shell, but nothing could shield her from the shrewd detective forging a path to her heart.

Reily’s employment as an ICU nurse, private investigator, and work in the military police has given her countless experiences in a host of different environments to add a real world feel to her fiction.

Though her kids are her life, writing is Reily’s life after. The one enjoyed…after the kids are in bed or after they’re in school and the house is quiet. This is the time she kicks back with laptop and lapdog to give her imagination free rein.

In life, hobbies can come and go according to our physical abilities, but you can always enjoy a good book. Life isn’t perfect, but our imaginations can be. Relax, whether it’s in front of a fire or in your own personal dungeon. Take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee with your best friend (even if he’s four legged). Life is short. Cherish your time.

Website ✯ Amazon ✯ Goodreads ✯ Twitter ✯ Facebook

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A Strange Companion by Lisa Manterfield PreOrder


Title: A Strange Companion
Author: Lisa Manterfield
Genre: New Adult Paranormal
Release Date: April 4, 2017

Kat Richardson isn’t running away from grief; she’s just hiding out in a gloomy Welsh university town until she’s sure it’s gone. Now, one year, nine months, and 27 days after the climbing death of her first love, Gabe, she thinks she’s ready to venture out into the relationship world again. And Owen—a cake-baking, Super Ball-making chemistry student—appears to be a kind, funny, and very attractive option.

But the arrival of Kat’s newly adopted niece, Mai, forces her home to northern England, where she runs headfirst into all the memories of Gabe she’s tried to leave behind—and discovers that Mai stirs up an unnerving feeling of déjà vu. Before long, Kat’s logical, scientific beliefs about life after death are in battle with what she feels to be true—that reincarnation is real and Gabe has come back to her through Mai. The question now, is why?

Taking on the topics of love, loss, and how we deal with grief, A Strange Companion is a twisted love triangle among the living, the dead, and the reincarnated.

“A Strange Companion hooks the reader with its very first line and never lets go. The voice is unassuming and introspective, the prose elegant, and the descriptions sensuous.” ~Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

“Manterfield presents a story – part romance, part mystery – about love and loss, and learning to live again. Reminiscent of The Art of Racing in the Rain, we can’t help but embrace the dream that the ones we have loved and lost may one day return.” ~Julie Mayerson Brown, author of The Long Dance Home

“This beautiful blend of heartbreak, finding one’s self, grief, forgiveness, loss, and second chances, is a perfect rainy day read. I cannot say enough good things about this book! Read it with a box of tissues, as you will cry your eyes out.” ~The Reading Wolf

I ran my hand along the log, waiting for my fingers to find the small indentations I knew would be there. They didn’t. The initials and the heart that Gabe had carved into the bark of the log now lay beneath a smooth carpet of moss, as if our love was something lost to the past. I pressed my finger into the moss but not a single tear would come. I simply sat there on the log and remembered.Grief, apparently, had a mind of its own. It had snuck up on me in unexpected places, but now that I needed it, it would not do my bidding. I pushed up off the log, wiping at my dry eyes. I would be home for three full weeks, plenty of time to go looking for grief. My hometown was filled with memories of Gabe and I’d keep looking until I found them all.

The tiny dot of light I’d seen grew bigger. As it wrapped around me, my eyes were drawn towards it. I felt suddenly light and my mind seemed to float somehow in my head. I wanted to get up, to pull myself from the ground and go, to step into the warmth of the light and allow it take me away from here.A man’s voice filtered into my ears in a hazy blur. It was a kind voice, calling for me. Gabe. He’d found me. He’d come to deliver the rest of his message. I lifted my head to listen, determined not to miss a word this time.“Miss?” said the voice. “Are you all right?”I was close to the light now. If I kept on going, I was sure I wouldn’t come back. I wondered if Gabe would be there, arms open, waiting for me. I wanted to go. I had to get him. I pushed myself off the ground and moved towards the light.“Stay where you are!” yelled another voice, a woman’s this time. A surge of pain shot through me. I opened my eyes and stared into the brightness. My head spun and the light seemed to flash all around me. I struggled to find my balance as a wave of nausea passed through me. Two dark figures moved in, their welcoming hands reaching for me. As my knees buckled I glimpsed the glint of a rectangular badge as the pool of light flashed across the word “Police.”

Mai dropped to her knees and wrapped her arms around Frida’s enormous head. She rested her cheek against Frida’s bristly fur and the two of them lay there as if they’d been best pals forever. Luke reached down and ran his hand along Frida’s back. As he moved back to stroke again, his hand paused on Mai’s arm, curled around Frida’s neck.Luke froze. I felt the air around us go still—all except for one crackle of energy that danced between Mai and Luke. I felt it, Luke felt it, Frida felt it . . . and so did Mai.Luke cast his eyes down at the little girl at his feet, who stared, unblinking, back at him. His brow wrinkled, as his mind struggled to understand what I knew his heart felt. Then, something passed between them that I had once seen pass between Luke and his brother. It was more than love, more than understanding, more, even, than blood. It was a deep connection, a spark between two people, two souls, who were inextricably intertwined. Luke looked at me. “Did you feel that?”I nodded.“What was it?”I hesitated. I knew exactly what it was, but how could I tell Luke? It was one thing to tell Maggie about my suspicions, but Luke was Gabe’s brother. Was it fair of me to risk opening up the hurt I knew he’d spent the past two years trying to heal? But perhaps I wasn’t the only one Gabe needed to visit. I felt a prickle of excitement at the possibility that someone else might finally understand.Glancing back to make sure Luke and I were out of earshot, I leaned in and whispered. “I think it’s Gabe.”Luke narrowed his eyes at me. “He’s haunting her?”I shook my head. “Do you believe in reincarnation, Luke?”He shrugged, but the expression of curiosity on his face prompted me to take a chance.“I didn’t either until I met Mai.”

Lisa Manterfield is the award-winning author I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, and Psychology Today. Originally from northern England, she now lives in Southern California with her husband and over-indulged cat. A Strange Companion is her first novel. Learn more at LisaManterfield.com.

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