Book Spotlight: Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane Keyworth

Genre: Historical Romance

In the gaming halls of eighteenth century London, orphan Caro Worth is leading a double life. By day she plays a proper gentlewoman on the lookout for a wealthy husband. By night she plays the infamous Angelica, her fictional half-sister with a talent for cards and an ability to finance the life her respectable self has built. An introduction to a rich Marquis brings marriage and security within Caro’s grasp…until the arrival of the unpredictable and totally ineligible Mr. Tobias Felton.

Dismayed by Felton’s persistent appearances, shocking frankness, and enigmatic green eyes, Caro watches helplessly as he comes closer than anyone to guessing her secret, but when complete and utter ruin threatens, she finds that Felton’s suspicions just might become her salvation. As the walls she has built to protect herself crumble down around her, Caro learns that no matter how careful your plans, life and love have a habit of falling quite spectacularly out of control!

Book Excerpt

Now came the tricky part—the buttons. Thankfully, the Lord had blessed Angelica with a particularly long set of fingers and, despite the tiniest of buttons and the difficult positioning on the inside of her petticoat, she soon had the compartment undone. She folded the notes and laid them flat in the pocket so that they would lie unseen against her body for the journey home.

She was just fastening the last button when she heard the door open. Her raven-haired head shot up, and her large eyes darted in the direction of the intruder. No one had ever entered when she had been in here alone before. What was Mr. Russell thinking? He always left her in peace until she left of her own accord.

So shocked was she, she failed to remove her foot from its perch on the bookshelf and cover herself before a gentleman entered—a gentleman that was not Mr. Russell. At least, that is if you could call the man who entered a gentleman at all. The man in question practically fell into the room, sloshing the tankard of ale in his hand and taking more than a few seconds to find his footing.

Angelica watched with horrified fascination as the tousled hair escaping the pathetic ribbon at the back of his neck flicked up and down while he gained his balance. For a moment she wondered if he would merely stumble back out again, quite unaware of her presence. But fortune would not smile upon Angelica a second time tonight.

In spite of his graceless entrance and obvious inebriation, the man’s eyes were exceedingly quick. As he righted himself, they made contact with a heeled shoe, a pleasingly long leg beneath the flimsiest of materials, and a gathering of skirts. His eyes continued their journey upwards, over her bodice, her neck, and then they stilled at those indefinable blue eyes.

In the odd pause that followed, a cat-like smile slowly unfurled across the young man’s face. Angelica threw down her skirts and stepped back.

“I say…” was all the gentleman offered. He half-raised the tankard as if in salute, and Angelica could only be thankful that he had knocked the door shut during his imbalance. Or was she thankful? She took another step back, hitting the paneling of the wall.

She did not recognize the man, but he was undeniably handsome. Aware that she was looking him over, his boyish face gained a mischievousness. His green eyes twinkled merrily at her, lingering—to her utter infuriation—on her lips. He stumbled towards a book-lined wall and rested an unsteady elbow upon one of the shelves, leaning jauntily on one leg and most clearly making himself at home.

“I say…” he repeated himself, but he did not move towards her as Angelica had feared.

Her wits finally returning, she put some ice into her stare. “You say what, sir?”

Author Bio

Philippa Jane Keyworth, known to her friends as Pip, has been writing since she was twelve in every notebook she could find. Originally trained as a horse-riding instructor, Philippa went on to become a copywriter before beginning a degree in History. A born again Christian, Philippa lives in the south of England with her handsome husband.

Philippa has always written stories and believes that, since it is one of her loves and passions, she always will. In her early writing career, she dabbled in a variety of genres, but it was the encouragement of a friend to watch a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that began her love affair with the British Regency. Since then, she has watched every Regency film and TV series she could get her hands on and become well acquainted with Georgette Heyer’s novels which gave her the inspiration to write her own.

Both as a reader and a writer, Philippa believes it is important to escape into a world you yourself would want to live in. This is why she writes stories that will draw you into the characters’ joys and heartaches in a world apart from our own.

Her debut novel, The Widow’s Redeemer (Madison Street Publishing, 2012), is a traditional Regency romance bringing to life the romance between a young widow with an indomitable spirit and a wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. The novel has been received well by readers and reviewers who have praised the heartfelt story and admirable characters.

Her second novel, The Unexpected Earl (Madison Street Publishing, 2014), explores another romance in the Regency era when an impetuous young woman has her life turned upside down by the reappearance of the earl who jilted her six years ago. Her third novel, Fool Me Twice (Madison Street Publishing, 2016), is a Georgian romance that has just been released.

So, what are you waiting for? Get swept away into another time with characters you will learn to love, and experience Britain in the 18th century and Regency like never before.

Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fool-Twice-Philippa-Jane-Keyworth-ebook/dp/B01M6TZ9UY

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32499458-fool-me-twice

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Book Spotlight: After the Fall by Carissa Lusk

 

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Amity cries out into the darkness that surrounds her, hoping for a solitary voice to provide direction; she hears two.

She has an epic love for Alexander, yet the loneliness brought on by the miles that separate them can only be curbed by the cryptic affection of Marcus Riley. Amity can’t understand the strange familiarity she finds in the wild blue of Marcus’s eyes, but she will soon learn his secret.

Plagued with dreams and memories of lives beyond her own, a tragic fate will emerge from the ashes of a love scorned. Eventually, she will discover the dark truth that will leave her running for her life, and she will learn who sacrificed everything to save it.

Book Excerpt

“What’s up?” I asked Marcus as Jill and Jessica disappeared through the doorway. He closed the book he was reading to show me the cover. It was the novel we had chosen in class.

“The library only had one copy, so I guess we can share.”

“Okay,” I agreed.

“I’ve finished the first chapter already. Should I pass it on to you?”

“No. Keep it for now. I’ll get it from you on Thursday.” I had no desire to start reading a new novel. “How does it seem so far?”

“It’s too early to tell.” Marcus gave a half-smile.

The sun sunk into the mountain behind him, making the trees blaze with their crimson and gold leaves. I raised my hand above my eyes to shield them from the one sunbeam that aimed directly at my face. “Sit for a minute,” he offered while he moved his backpack from the space next to him. I, instead, plopped down straight across from him. I didn’t want to give him the wrong idea.

“Do we need to talk about our project?”

“We don’t have to,” he answered. “We can talk about something else.”

Maybe he already had the wrong idea. I shook my head and opened my mouth to tell him I had a boyfriend, but he stopped me with quiet laughter. “We can be friends, right?” he asked.

“Friends. Sure.” Deep down, I knew better. A speck of chemistry flickered between us, threatening to ignite. For weeks it had smoldered, though it somehow existed with the total opposite of chemistry all at once. His eyes drew me in, yet the familiarity of them unsettled me. Logic told me to stand up and walk away, but I couldn’t. What was my affinity for Marcus Riley?

Author Bio

Carissa Lusk grew up in a small town in West Virginia and never moved far from home. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Concord College. She credits her love of reading and writing to Kate Chopin, Emily Bronte, and her mom. After the Fall is Carissa’s debut novel.

Author interviews can be found at

http://bit.ly/2e31WTp

http://awesomegang.com/?s=carissa+lusk

Connect: https://www.facebook.com/ckelleylusk/

https://twitter.com/ckelley_lusk

https://www.instagram.com/ckelleylusk/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31185407-after-the-fall

Links

Book Baby: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/after-the-fall

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ITQ6XJS

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/after-the-fall-carissa-lusk/1124129458?ean=9781483575759

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/after-the-fall/id1135930254?mt=11

 

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Book Spotlight: Forever There for You by Chioma Nnani

forever there for you

 

Title: Forever There For You

Author: Chioma Nnani

Genre: Romance

When NADINE is confronted with the reality of her failing marriage, her first instinct is to work it out. She has had it drummed into her that marriage is ‘for better, for worse’. Walking out is just not an option – her faith would condemn her and her culture would make her a pariah.

The combination of Nadine’s background, education, social standing, friendships, faith, experiences and past relationships is meant to equip her to become a success. Failure is alien to her and love means forgiving at all cost.

As she tries to survive and make the most of the curves that life has thrown her, she discovers that ’success’ is a subjective term, and ‘happily ever after’ is something that you have to discover and define for yourself …

 

Excerpt

Nadine’s stomach growled and she winced, certain that it was audible. Stella’s efforts to suppress a smile were unsuccessful and she soon burst out laughing. Nadine shook her head.

“Mine does the same sometimes,” Stella said, hoping to alleviate Nadine’s mortification.

“That’s nice to know,” Nadine replied.

“My name is Stella Matthews. And I’m an A-level student.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Nadine Nwaturuegwu. I’m on the UFP … law route.”

“Watru …”

“Please, don’t. ‘Nadine’ will do just fine.”

“OK … do you want to grab something to eat? You sound like …”

Nadine laughed. “I was actually on my way to a chicken-and-chip shop.”

“KFC?”

“No … one of the kebab shops.”

“I’d kill for a coffee, right about now.”

Nadine shuddered and made a face, as they both started to walk out of the reception area.

“And then some fish and chips,” continued Stella.

“Ugh.”

“What?”

“I hate coffee.”

“Oh.”

“And I detest fish and chips.” Nadine shrugged.

“Detest is a bit strong.”

“What can I say, I have rather strong feelings about that … meal.”

“OK, let’s hear them.”

“Well, to say that the fish is … soggy, doesn’t even begin to describe it,” Nadine muttered.

“Excuse me?! You’d better not start what you can’t finish.”

“Oh, I’m going to finish! It’s more like, the fish is usually submerged in all the oil in the world and then they just serve it to you. How can anyone eat that?”

“It’s not oil, it’s batter.”

“Yeah well, whatever it is, it gives ‘saturated fat’ a new meaning.”

“Wait till you’ve had a deep-fried Mars bar,” Stella said, smiling wickedly.

“What is that?”

“It’s a Mars bar fried in the batter used for deep-frying … sorry, drowning fish.”

Nadine felt her breakfast threatening to re-appear through her mouth. “And I thought fish and chips was bad.”

“I will have you know that fish and chips is … essential to us, Brits.”

“Essential for a coronary,” mumbled Nadine.

“Every Brit will tell you that it’s incredible,” protested Stella.

“Probably because you Brits don’t know how to cook.”

Stella pretended as though she was on the verge of a heart attack.

“Seriously, chips are just slices of fried potatoes, anyone can do that. And then the drowned-in-oil fish … ugh! Give me pounded yam and nsala soup, egusi soup, edikaikong …”

“Whoa! What are those?”

“Lunch. Proper food. Nigerian food.”

“We have soup for lunch, too.”

“Ah, not that watery stuff you pour from tins,” Nadine replied, shaking her head.

“It’s not all watery. And you’re supposed to pour soup out of tins.”

“Not where I come from. In fact, I’m going to make time to visit London, just so I can go to an African restaurant.”

“You’d go all the way to London, just for a meal?”

“There are no African restaurants in Oxford. London is the closest place I can get a Nigerian meal.”

“Yeah, but you’d go to London?” repeated Stella.

“Yeah, it’s just two hours away. I’m telling you, you have to experience it to know what I’m talking about. You should come with me. Show you what proper food is.”

“Can’t you cook it?” Stella asked.

“You know we’re not allowed to cook in college accommodation. And even then, there are no ingredients here in Oxford, not proper ingredients anyway.”

“So, apart from soups, what else do you have?” Stella asked, now intrigued.

Nadine smiled. “Oh, more stuff than you can count. Stick with me, I’ll show you. And every single Nigerian meal is potentially filling on its own. None of that ten-course meal malarkey, made up of bits and pieces of tomatoes and bacon and who knows what else.”

“You’re going to say you don’t have sandwiches in Nigeria, now?”

“No, I’m not going to say that. But we do not regard sandwiches as meals.”

“OK. Now here, in Rome where you’re going to do as the Romans do, sandwiches are meals. Fish and chips also equal food. And today, it’s going to be lunch.”

Nadine shook her head. “You can keep that. Chicken and chips, I can just about handle. But I absolutely draw the line at putting into my mouth, something that will cause my skin to breathe out all the oil I’ve consumed. Yuk.”

“Your fixation with the oil content, is starting to get tedious. Will you be counting calories next?”

Nadine looked horrified. “Where I come from, calorie-counting exists as an academic concept, if at all.”

“What does that even mean?”

“It means that when we don’t eat, it’s because we can’t afford the food or we’re too ill to eat. Not because we’re trying to fit into a dress.”

“Ah, you think you’re funny, don’t you? Now coffee …”

“Is another great Brit essential?”

“Oh, you’re funny, very funny,” Stella said, sarcastically.

“What can I say?”

“Apparently, a lot. What’s coffee done to you, anyway?”

Nadine rolled her eyes. “Don’t go there. Please.”

Forever There For You” is available as a paperback on all Amazon sites. It is also available in Kindle, iBook and EPUB formats in all Amazon markets, Smashwords, Overdrive.com, Apple, Kobo, Okadabooks.com (for the African market) and major online book stores.

 

Author Bio

Chioma Nnani is an award-winning author, who also contributes to business, lifestyle and literary publications.

One of Africa’s most fearless storytellers, she is a 2016 CREATIVE AFRICAN Awards finalist in the category of “Best Fiction Writer”, and a DIVAS OF COLOUR 2016 finalist.

Chioma has also been nominated twice for a UK BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) Award in the “Best Author” category. A talented ghost-writer who is known for “being able to get into your head and under your skin, before writing down exactly how you’re feeling”, Chioma has been named “One of 100 Most Influential Creatives in 2016” by London-based C.Hub Magazine.

She holds a Law (LLB) from the University of Kent and a Postgraduate Certificate in Food Law (De Montfort University, Leicester). She is the founder of THE FEARLESS STORYTELLER HOUSE EMPORIUM LTD (a premium storytelling outfit based in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, where she lives), typically contributes to lifestyle and literary publications, and runs the “Memo From A Fearless Storyteller” blogazine at www.fearlessstoryteller.com for which she won the 2016 BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) Award.

 

Links

Amazon (Kindle): United StatesUnited KingdomGermanyFranceSpainItalyNetherlandsJapanBrazilCanadaMexicoAustralia and India. It is also available on SmashwordsKobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble (Nook)Okadabooks, and major online stores. Okadabooks is mainly for buyers in Africa.

As a paperback, Forever There For You is available from Amazon in the  United StatesUnited KingdomGermanyBrazilCanada, and India.

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Release Blitz: Place to Belong by Claire Boston

About the Book

place-to-belong-largeTitle: Place to Belong

Author: Claire Boston

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sean Flanagan has spent a lifetime alone and rejected, constantly hiding who he really is.

With a father who deserted him and a mother who despised him, Sean didn’t think things could get much worse … until he was kicked out of home for being gay. Now he’s discovered he has three half-sisters on the other side of the world. This might be his last chance to find people who will love and accept him. But he’s terrified that if they find out who he really is then they’ll reject him like the rest of his family.

Sean arrives in Houston and is stunned by the warm welcome he receives from his sisters. He begins to hope that maybe this time things will be different. That’s when he meets Hayden Johnson. To follow his heart means risking everything with his newfound family.

Hayden is tired of endless dating. He’s looking for a man to love, someone to spend the rest of his life with. His boss’s new brother ticks all the boxes on the attraction scale, but there’s just one problem – he’s not gay.

Will Sean let his fears rule him, or will he let in the chance of love and find a place where he belongs?

Author Bio

headshotClaire Boston is the best-selling author of The Texan Quartet. In 2014 she was nominated for an Australian Romance Readers Award as Favourite New Romance Author.

Her debut contemporary romance novel, What Goes on Tour caught the attention of Momentum’s Joel Naoum when her first scene was read aloud at the Romance Writers’ of Australia (RWA) conference in 2013. This led to a four book contract for The Texan Quartet series.

Claire is proactive in organising social gatherings and educational opportunities for local authors. She is an active volunteer for RWA, as a mentor for aspiring authors and the reader judge coordinator.

When Claire’s not writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. If she can convince anyone to play with her, she also enjoys cards and board games.

Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth, with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her grubby, but adorable Australian bulldog.

Contact

Please email Claire with any questions claire@claireboston.com

Social Networks

Website: http://www.claireboston.com

Blog: http://www.claireboston.com/blog

Reader Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/Z4-4z

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clairebauthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/clairebauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clairebostonauthor

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe9YKmz-ORDtYaNG17hM5BA

Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

Kobo

An Inside Look at “Loving a Wild Stranger”

by Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing an inside look and an excerpt from my latest historical romance, Loving a Wild Stranger. This full-length pioneer-wilderness romance is set in the Michigan Territory and blends adventure with a sensual love story.

Here’s the summary:

Loving a Wild Stranger

A woman running from her past… straight into the arms of an untamed man
In a moment of desperation, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York and ends up stranded in a small town in the Michigan Territory. Out of money and forced to rely on her instincts, she impersonates a handsome stranger’s mail-order bride.

Committed to her deception, Kathleen calls herself Michelle and starts her new life with Luther in an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Luther can’t believe his luck when his beautiful bride arrives, but something doesn’t feel right about his new wife. Michelle has terrifying nightmares involving a man named Roger and is reluctant to talk about where she came from.

Luther’s friend, Redfeather visits and tries to convince Luther to send Michelle back east. Distrusting Michelle, he warns Luther that his bride is not what she seems. But Luther is in love with Michelle, and he is harboring a secret of his own—one that might force Michelle to reject him when she learns the truth.

Michelle falls in love with Luther and adapts to her new way of life. Together, they face off against brutal townspeople and overcome harsh living conditions. When they finally give in to their desires and agree to become a proper man and wife, a dark figure from Michelle’s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy everything.

***

The idea for this book started with a simple premise: a woman on the run impersonates a mountain man’s mail-order bride and lives in his cabin in the woods. From there, I thought about the characters and how they would interact, learn to live with each other, and naturally, fall in love.

But before I started writing, I went to the library and did a lot of research. First, I had to decide on the time period. When and where I set my story would determine all the necessary details that bring the characters to life—and also influence the plot.

Once the time period was finalized, I needed to learn about mail-order brides, fur trapping and trading, Native Americans, and get an overall feel for what life was like back then. As I wrote the book, I incorporated my research as background information. This gives the story a rich historical feel without going overboard with details that might bog down the book or bore readers.

I enjoyed creating the characters and all the conflicts that take place between them. Michelle and Luther are very different people—sort of like a city mouse and a country mouse—and I played on their differences in lifestyles, clothing, expectations, etc. throughout the book. When Luther’s friend Redfeather arrives, Michelle realizes how far she is out of her comfort zone and begins to see her situation (and Luther) in a new light.

As Luther and Michelle get to know each other (and fight for each other) they realize they have a lot more in common than they once thought. They both had to fend for themselves to survive in a rough world, with little or no family support. This brings them closer together and makes their love stronger.

I enjoyed writing this book, and I hope readers will fall in love with the characters the way I did.

 

Here’s an excerpt from Loving a Wild Stranger:

 Kathleen’s knees shook as she strode down the sidewalk toward the livery. She had to get out of the store before there was trouble. She felt sorry for that man, Luther. He’d seemed nice enough when he gave her back her glove.

The coach waited near the livery, and her trunks still sat on the sidewalk. She had some time left. What should she do? She didn’t dare get back on the coach, but this town was awful and she didn’t want to stay here. Perhaps she could throw herself on the mercy of the church. There had to be one somewhere and the reverend would take her in. Or would he?

Kathleen crossed the street and entered the livery. A round-faced man slouching behind the counter straightened up.

“You must be from the stage,” he said, gazing at the front of her dress.

She folded her arms across her bosom and looked him square in the eye. “How did you know?” she asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Because I’ve been with all the women in town and you ain’t one of ’em. You Clyde’s new girl? I’d pay two dollars for a night with you.” He winked.

“How dare you! I’m looking for the church.”

The man spit a stream of tobacco juice on the floor next to her brown boots. “We ain’t got a church. If you ain’t the new whore, then what are you doin’ here?”

She spotted the newspaper the man had open on the counter in front of him. An advertisement for wedding lace gave her an idea. “I’m a mail-order bride.”

“That so?” He scowled. “Who’s the lucky man?”

Kathleen twisted her skirts and tried to stall for time. “There’s a problem with the papers you see…”

She glanced out the window. The driver stood near the coach, scratching his head. A second later, she heard the familiar clomp of boots on the sidewalk. This was her one chance. It had to work. She had always trusted her instincts, and now she could only think of one answer. Her gut told her to take the risk. “Luther’s his name and—”

“Luther?” The liveryman’s eyes widened. “Well, you’re in the right place.” He arched an eyebrow. “You sure it’s Luther?”

She nodded as the coach pulled away. All hope of escape left town in a swirl of dust. Her trunks lay abandoned on the sidewalk. There was no going back now. This man thought she was a mail-order bride. She tried to remember what she’d read about them. It sounded simple, a man sent money to a company and they sent a wife.

She tensed as the livery door opened.

“Hey, Karl. I pulled the wagon—” Luther stopped as he spotted her.

She averted her gaze and smoothed her skirts, suddenly ashamed of her appearance. What man would accept her unwashed and dusty?

The liveryman laughed. “Hell, Luther, looks like ya got more than you thought goin’ home with ya.”

“What’s that mean?”

Kathleen closed her eyes. What had she done? This wasn’t a game anymore.

“Seems your wife came special delivery on the coach.”

“My what?”

She heard the surprise in Luther’s voice. What if he hadn’t sent away for a bride like the men in the store had said? She had to think of a story, now. Luther’s boots clomped across the floor and stopped in front of her. When he cleared his throat, she opened her eyes.

Luther stood two feet away, holding his hat in his hands. His head was cocked to one side. “He foolin’? This a trick they paid ya for?”

“No,” she whispered. “No trick.”

As Luther’s shoulders relaxed, his face softened.

Kathleen clenched her hands behind her back, took a deep breath, and started her story. “I had paperwork for you to fill out, but there was a problem on the stage and some luggage got left behind, so there’s nothing for you to sign.” Her voice wavered, and she coughed lightly. “I sent the mail order place a wire. They said they’d send the papers as soon as they can, so…”

“That’s fine, ma’am.” He smiled. “My name is Luther Dubois, and you don’t know how long I’ve been waitin’ for you. Come with me. I’ll put the feed on the cart, and we’ll get settled.” Luther lifted a bulky sack from the floor and walked to the door, obviously expecting her to follow.

She hurried after Luther. A chestnut-colored horse and a wooden cart waited outside the livery. Luther headed to the cart with the sack slung over his shoulder like a dead body. He half-turned to her. “He give you any trouble?”

“Who?”

“Man inside, Karl. The men in this town ain’t known for their manners, especially when it comes to women.” Luther dropped the sack into the wagon.

“My trunks are over there.”

“I’ll fetch ’em. But I’m afraid I ain’t got room for you in back with all the supplies. You’ll ride behind me.”

She watched as Luther carried her trunks to the cart and tucked them in next to sacks of flour, grain, and other supplies.

“You ready, Miss…”

All of a sudden she realized that Luther had never asked her name. “Evans, I’m Michelle Evans,” she answered. After months on the run, she was smart enough never to give her real name.

“Me-chelle, that’s French.” Luther smiled. “Miss Me-chelle, we’ll be on our way.” He mounted the horse and reached down to her. “Give me your hand and swing your leg over.”

Kathleen bit her bottom lip, unsure. If she did this, there was no turning back.

“Now don’t tell me you ain’t never rode a horse before,” Luther joked.

Kathleen placed her hand in Luther’s palm and he hoisted her onto the horse. She sat behind him and adjusted her skirts. Where were the saddle and stirrups? Luther rode only with a blanket and reins.

“Wrap your arms around my middle and hold on. We’ll get home before dark.”

Home? She clutched Luther as the horse lurched forward, willing herself to stay strong. If she started to cry now, she’d never stop. What in heaven’s name had she done?

Order your copy of Loving a Wild Stranger here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6M551H  

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1190943526

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loving-a-wild-stranger-kelli-a-wilkins/1125413251?ean=2940154172131

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/loving-a-wild-stranger

Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/335361512/Loving-a-Wild-Stranger

Page Foundry: http://www.inktera.com/store/title/51d0c248-fe8d-4a14-b1db-b524786870f4

24 Symbols: https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=1854921

***

I hope you enjoyed this inside look at the making of Loving a Wild Stranger. I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media!

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.

Loving a Wild Stranger was released in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.

Kelli’s third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption was released in September 2016. This spicy historical western is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.

In 2016 Kelli began re-releasing her romances previously published by Amber Quill Press. Visit her website and blog for a full title list, book summaries, and other information.

Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her years of experience as a writer. It’s filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

If you like to be scared, check out Kelli’s horror ebooks: Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.

Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.

CATCH UP WITH KELLI

Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins

Website: www.KelliWilkins.com

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Release Day Book Blast: Prism by Matthew D. Ryan

Prism by Matthew Ryan

Genre: Fantasy

Matthew will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

BLURB:

In the mystical realm of the Cavern, Akarra is Shardshaper to the quartzian people who inhabit it. Fashioned from quartz and filled with enchanted light, the quartzians are a strong and hearty people. Akarra is no exception. But when destiny intervenes, she must choose between the he-quartz she loves and the life path she lives for. Which shall she choose?

Excerpt:

Akarra knelt expectantly on the floor near the back corner of Yridia’s Cave.

“Pattern matching is most important, dear,” Yridia said.

“I know, Mistress Shardshaper,” Akarra replied, head bowed in deference. “You’ve told me so—many times—but I just don’t see the use of geometry.” She was tired; it had been a long training session and she still wasn’t through.

The small but cozy cave—one in which she had spent many long hours engaged in study—had been hollowed out in the shape of a twelve-sided figure of exquisite design—a dodecahedron, it was called. It at once conveyed a sense of space, mystery, and power. Much like the element it represented: the ether. Each of the twelve faces of the shape formed a perfect pentagon—a five sided figure of further significance and meaning. The pentagon-shaped floor, of course, was made of clouded white quartz; the ceiling, clear. The pentagons on the walls alternated between white and clear. There were no cracks or fissures or blemishes; all the angles and divisions were neat, clean, and precise, thus regulating the temperature of the room perfectly. As Akarra perused the features of the cave, she felt contentment and peace, and her antennae glowed a pale greenish yellow in response. This was like a second home for her. She was the apprentice Shardshaper. One of the most respected members of the tribe.

Akarra watched Yridia move to the center of the pentagon floor and squat down in front of her. Yridai’s yenshi robe billowed out and she produced a crystal of transparent blue quartz in the shape of a perfect tetrahedron. Her Heartshard. A piece of the Heart Crystal itself, the source of the Shardshaper’s power.

Akarra could feel the Shard’s presence.

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Matthew D. Ryan lives in northeastern New York on the shores of Lake Champlain. He has been deeply involved in the fantasy genre for most of his life as a reader, writer, and game designer. His writing has been featured at Aphelion.com and YesteryearFiction.com.

He is the operator of the web-site matthewdryan.com which features his blog, “A Toast to Dragons,” (http://matthewdryan.com/a-toast-to-dragons-the-blog/) a blog dedicated to fantasy literature, and, to a lesser extent, sci-fi. He is the author of the dark fantasy novels “Drasmyr,” “The Children of Lubrochius,” and “The Sceptre of Morgulan,” as well as a growing number of fantasy short stories including: “Haladryn and the Minotaur,” “The River’s Eye,” and “Escape.” His latest work is the stand-alone novella “Prism,” a startling fantasy story of unique character.

 

THE BOOK IS FREE ON RELEASE DAY

Author’s Smashwords Page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/matthewdryan

Author’s Blog: http://www.atoasttodragons.com

Author’s Home Page: http://www.matthewdryan.com

Author’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MatthewDRyanAuthor

Author’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/matthewdryan

Author’s Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/579148.Matthew_D_Ryan

Author’s Twitter Handle: @MatthewDRyan1

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Book Spotlight: Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla by D.C. Triana

Sunset Reads Romantic suspense

Giveaway: Win eBook copies of the book, and 3 $10 Amazon gift cards.

Genre: Romantic Suspense

One year.

It’s been one year since Agent Damian Trent left for Washington without a word.

One year since he’s seen her beautiful face.

One year since he’s heard his name on her lips.

He’s been recently called back to New York City on assignment, to catch a criminal who’s trying to infiltrate Sunset Reads. The last thing he expects is to work side by side with the woman he turned his back on.

Having her close is an unwanted distraction that he’s more than willing to ignore, if only she wasn’t so damn tempting.

Everything seems under control, until a night of feverish passion has him abandoning all thoughts of reason. Now, he will do everything in his power to get her back, and even more so to protect her.

Layla Reece wants nothing to do with the man who left her a year ago.

The man who took her heart with him, leaving her broken.

After a year of trying to forget Damian Trent, she is finally ready to move on.

But trying to forget him becomes a tedious task when he suddenly reappears in her life.

Although she fights to stay away, his magnetism is too strong and she finds herself giving into the deep timbre of his voice, and the strength and safety of his arms.

Staying away from Damian turns out to be futile, especially when his kisses consume her and his heart shatters the walls she spent so much time building.

Finding herself in danger, she now has to turn to the only man she trusts to keep her safe, but can she trust him enough to give him her heart once again?

 

Excerpt

Damian Trent was just as hot as he was daring, and as Layla Reece watched him that night, she slowly became interested in the man behind the mysterious, silver gaze. Lost in thought, she was interrupted by her best friend who handed her a drink.

“He is gorgeous,” Cristina Cruz said, the renowned romance author and wife to Sunset Reads’ CEO, William Jameson. They had recently married and were currently expecting their first child. They were probably one of the happiest and most in love couples Layla had ever seen. She could only hope she’d someday have what they did.

“Yes, I suppose he is,” Layla replied, intending to seem uninterested, but not succeeding in the least bit.

Cristina eyed her friend closely. “You should go talk to him.”

Layla shook her head, stealing a glance at Damian as he leaned against the wall and spoke to William. “No, he’s probably not interested anyway.”
Cristina looked over at him and her eyebrows shot up. She gently nudged Layla and said to her friend, “I doubt that very much.” She smiled and then walked away just as Damian Trent headed towards them.

Layla took a long sip of wine and watched him carefully over the rim of the glass as he crossed the room. He was tall and imposing. He moved like a swift panther, taking long strides that brought emphasis to the strong muscles in his thighs.

“So, you are Layla Reece?” His voice dripped of sensuality, evoking sinful thoughts of naked bodies tangling beneath cool sheets.
She nodded slowly, cautious of the man in front of her. “And you must be Damian Trent.”

He smiled, the gesture wrinkling the corner of his eyes, making him seem all the more rugged. His intense gaze caused a shiver to run through Layla.

“I’ve been wanting to come over and talk to you for quite some time. Well, ever since I saw you looking at me earlier.” A smile played on his lips.

Layla’s eyebrows shot up at his comment, “I didn’t realize I was making you feel uncomfortable… nor that I was being so obvious.” She muttered the last part.

Damian’s eyes darkened, turning a steely gray. “So you admit you were looking?”

“Well if you saw me, then there doesn’t seem to be a point in denying it.” She shrugged, holding his gaze for a moment.

Damian searched her face, intrigued by her delicate features and her boldness. At that moment he decided to take a chance. “Do you want to get out of here?”
She furrowed her eyebrows, giving him a questioning look.

Damian leaned in, keeping his voice low. “I just want to talk. I promise. But if we don’t disappear soon I fear we will unfortunately continue to be the center of attention.” He gestured to the room and as Layla looked around, sure enough, they had an audience. He turned back to her. “Meet me outside in ten?” he asked.
Layla licked her lips nervously and nodded slowly. “Okay,” she whispered.

Ten minutes later, and after evading her friends and saying hurried goodbyes, she managed to escape. Then she found herself seated in a black, Dodge Charger heading God knows where with a man she barely knew.

What is it about this man that draws me to him?

“You keep staring,” he stated, his eyes glued to the road.

Layla realized she was angled toward him in her seat, and forced herself to face forward. “Sorry. I don’t normally do things like this.” She bit her lower lip and turned to look out the window.

I’m not sure what the hell’s gotten over me, she wondered as they drove.
His lips curved into a slight smile. “I figured as much.”

He pulled over on the side of the road and parked the car. Layla spotted a small restaurant on the corner, and through the windows she could tell it was almost empty. Damian opened the door, and helped her out of the car. His hand was warm as it engulfed hers. He placed his other hand on the small of her back guiding her inside. His touch was light yet brought shivers down her spine. The intimacy of the small gesture surprised her.

They took a seat in a back booth where there was some semblance of privacy, and he slid in across from her.

He leaned in. The closeness of his silver gaze causing her to fidget.

“You’re cheeks are flushed,” he whispered, trailing a fingertip down her face. He didn’t understand why, but he wanted to touch her.

His touch kept Layla frozen in her seat, as very erotic images of what she suddenly wanted him to do to her body flashed through her mind. She quickly pulled back and called for the waiter, trying to put some distance between them before things went in a different direction entirely.

They both ordered a drink and sat back, carefully studying each other.

Damian had wanted to talk to the beautiful, green-eyed vixen from the first moment he saw her at William’s place. Her features were soft, with high cheek bones and full lips. She has a perfect sun kissed glow, and her skin seemed so soft that he immediately wanted to trail his hands down every curve of her body, just to satisfy his curiosity. She was tall and reached his chin when she stood next to him, but he liked her height, mostly because she had the longest, shapeliest legs he’d ever laid eyes on.

When he’d decided to approach her, he knew she wasn’t going to be a woman who’d be easily persuaded. Her direct approach showed openness and an innocence that captivated him. He suddenly wanted to be alone with her, to actually get to know her. The only problem with all this was that the more he talked to her, the more he wanted to delve into dangerous territory. Territory he knew was impossible for him to enter into.

Layla smiled. “I suppose you can’t talk about your job since it might be top secret,” she teased, trying to break the ice.

He smirked. “You’re not entirely wrong.”

“So what can you tell me about yourself, Agent Trent?” Her green eyes held his in anticipation.

He smiled wickedly and leaned in, bringing his face only inches away from hers. “What do you want to know, Miss Reece?”

Layla stared at those full, sensual lips, warmth spreading through her.

“Everything,” she replied breathlessly, her eyes widening when she realized she had spoken aloud.

 

Author Bio

D.C. Triana is a new romance author and novelist. She was born in raised in New York  and is currently residing in Florida. Last March, Her dream of publishing a romance novel came true with, Sunset Reads: William & Cristina. The novel is currently holding a 4.5 star rating on Amazon as well as GoodReads. She is excited to announce her second novel in the series, Sunset Reads: Damian & Layla, releasing on December 26, 2016.

When she is not delving into her hopeless romantic thoughts, she is expanding her experiences and traveling around the world. She also will not miss an episode of the Walking Dead, has an obsession with Superman, and has watched Pride and Prejudice at least ten times. An avid fan of all types of music and dancing; she enjoys cuddling up with her puppy Obi, and helping new authors like herself. You can visit her at http://www.dctriana/com, or be part of her newsletter where you can take part in giveaways, receive updates on upcoming storylines, and get reviews on hot new titles. Sign up for her Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bXH-P9

 

Links

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NBB4QYD/

Spotify playlist link:

 

YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/zD7OmWeMHBA

Newsletter Sign up Link: http://eepurl.com/bXH-P9

Website: http://www.dctriana.com

Twitter: @DCTriana1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/DCTriana

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/D.C.Triana82/

 

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An Inside Look at Lies, Love & Redemption (Part 2)

Lies, Love and Redemptionby Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing part two of an “inside look” at the making of my new historical western romance, Lies, Love & Redemption. In the first blog, I talked about how the book came to be and discussed the research involved in writing a historical romance. Today, I’ll explore the characters and touch on another subject—realism.

The book opens with Sam, the hero, bleeding from gunshot wounds and stumbling across the prairie. He’s wondering if he is already dead and suffering in hell for what he has done in the past.

This gives readers initial insight into Sam. Right from the start, we know he has done something that he feels guilty about, and he is harboring secrets. We also see that Sam is stubborn and not the type of man to give up easily.

When readers meet Cassie in her store, they see that she works hard trying to make her store successful. But they also see her going through the motions and wondering why she bothers.

Each character is at a cross-roads, and everything is about to change for them. As the book progresses, we learn that Cassie is headstrong, stubborn, and not the type to take guff from Sam or the people in town. She’s running a store all by herself and doesn’t like to accept help or rely on anyone.

I contrasted Cassie’s independent nature with a secret vulnerability. The consequences of a failed relationship left Cassie emotionally fragile and broken. She says she’s not afraid of anything, but later we learn that’s not true. Deep down, she fears losing the store. She’s also afraid of falling in love with Sam, only to lose him. Cassie has experienced many losses in her life, and she is hesitant to open her heart and trust anyone.

Sam is a noble man who feels he has a debt to pay and a duty to watch over Cassie, and this leads to conflict between them. She doesn’t want to admit that she needs his help, and he is being overprotective of her (or so she thinks…).

Although Sam comes across as honest and open, readers quickly discover that Sam is keeping his past a secret and is hiding his true identity—and much more—from everyone. Sam is a troubled soul who has also experienced a lot of loss in his life. Without giving too much away, readers learn that Sam lost someone very important to him through an act of violence, and he’s set on getting his revenge—and that’s not pretty.

This leads me to my next topic—realism. Before I sat down to write, I did a lot of research about general stores, what life was like in the 1870s, etc., and I learned that life back then was very difficult and much different from how we live today.

People died of infections, diseases, and all sorts of other ailments, and there was the threat of violence to consider. The west was known for being “lawless” and some people took advantage of the fact that you could practically do whatever you wanted. (If you really want to see how gritty and brutal life was like back then, watch the TV show Deadwood. You’ll see gunfights, murders, robberies, hangings, and other acts of aggression that were all-too-common in that era.)

Life for anyone in the “wild” west was tough. Combine that with the fact that women virtually were the property of their husbands and had no rights, and you have the makings for pretty rough times for women.

I incorporated a few of these elements into Lies, Love & Redemption. How could I not? The setting and time period have to be realistically represented in the book. Although readers might take issue with including violence in a romance, it has a place in the story (to a degree).

If everything was too perfect or too pretty, the book would lose the richness in details that bring it—and the characters—to life.

Having Sam face the threat of a potentially lethal infection, Cassie trying to help a woman escape a violent marriage, and Sam admitting the horrific truth of his past, all work together to give the book an authentic feel.

And part of an author’s job (especially when writing historical romances) is to let readers live the story through the eyes and experiences of the characters. One thing authors are told is to make life difficult for your hero and heroine. If there is no conflict or drama, the story becomes dull, and the characters have nothing to strive for and don’t grow.

Yes, I may have put Sam and Cassie (and a few other characters) through an emotional wringer, and yes, they had to face violent situations, but they’re strong and their challenges built up their resilience.

And of course, as in any romance, it all worked out happily-ever-after.

Here’s the summary and a brief excerpt:

Lies, Love & Redemption

Shot and left for dead, Sam Hixton stumbles into a general store on the Nebraska prairie and collapses into the arms of Cassie Wilcox.

Cassie’s world is turned upside down when the handsome stranger drops into her life. Sam is another complication she doesn’t need: her business is dying and her trouble with the townspeople is escalating. Yet she’s determined to keep the store open — no matter what the cost.

As Sam recovers from his injuries, he hides the truth about his identity and convinces Cassie to let him work in the store. He’s attracted to her and admires her independent nature but quickly realizes Cassie’s in way over her head. They fight their growing attraction, and Cassie questions whether she can trust her fragile heart to a mysterious stranger. Will he accept her once he knows about her troubled past?

Cassie resists Sam’s advances and represses her feelings until one fateful night when they give in to their fiery passion. Together, they work out a plan to save the store but find their efforts are thwarted—and their lives endangered—by the locals.

Sam’s secret returns to haunt him and pulls him away just when Cassie needs him the most. Will he regain her trust when she learns the truth?

Cassie has everything invested in the store—can she save it and find true love with Sam before it’s too late?

***

An Excerpt:

“I hate to tell you this, but you have a big problem.”

Sam broke off a chunk of bread and dipped it into the chicken broth. “Honey, I’ve got a lot of problems, starting with the fact that I got shot and nearly died. What else do I have to worry about?”

“A man who stands about six foot six.”

His heart skipped a beat. “Shit. Tell me it’s not your husband.”

“No.” Cassie laughed. “Luke, the sheriff. He was here this afternoon asking questions about you. Holloway’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. Folks are bound to be curious when a shot-up stranger wanders into the only store, bleeding to death.”

He slurped more soup.

“Luke thinks you’re wanted, an outlaw, or… I don’t know, whatever he can dream up that might get him a reward.”

“I’m not wanted.” He gazed into Cassie’s brown eyes. “I know you have no reason to believe me, but I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“Luke will be back tomorrow morning, and he’s determined to talk to you. He’s gonna ask how you got here and who shot you. I don’t care what you tell him.” She rose and uncorked the bottle of medicine on the tray. “Drink this.”

“Doc left two?”

“No. This is something different. I took this off the shelf downstairs.”

“Won’t you get in trouble with your boss?”

Cassie chuckled. “Nope. I am the boss. It’s my store. I can take what I want.”

“Oh.” That was unusual. Most women couldn’t handle the responsibility of running a business. How had Cassie come to own a store?

“What’s in it?” he said, eyeing the bottle warily. Patent medicines, or snake oil treatments, often made you feel worse than if you took nothing at all. They were full of arsenic, turpentine, or kerosene. “I don’t take well to these medicinal potions.”

“And I don’t regularly offer them, but this should dull the pain.” She poured a spoonful of the amber liquid and held it out. “Open up.”

He was about to argue, then thought better of it. If this poison helped him sleep, he’d be content with that much, at least. “Couldn’t I have whiskey?”

Cassie grinned. “This concoction is about three-quarters whiskey. That’s why I keep it on the shelf.”

He gulped the medicine down, and his eyes watered. “It sure burns like whiskey,” he said, clearing his throat.

“Good. Now that you’ve had food and medicine, I’ll let you sleep.” Cassie set a glass of water on the side table and headed for the door. “I’ll come back for the tray in an hour. Try to rest. Luke will aim to catch you muddle-headed in the morning. I told him you were still unconscious.”

“Why did you lie?”

“I figured you could use the time to get your story straight. Luke’s nosy, like everyone else in this damn town. We don’t get strangers coming through here, so you’re a curiosity. People are going to be suspicious of you.”

He nodded, grateful for the warning. The less Cassie and the other townsfolk knew about him and his past, the better.

***

Order Lies, Love & Redemption on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Lies-Love-Redemption-Kelli-Wilkins-ebook/dp/B01JMJLOU4
and on B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lies-love-and-redemption-kelli-a-wilkins/1124391964?ean=9781942546665

Read more about the book and get links to other platforms here:

http://medallionpress.com/books/lies-love-redemption/

I hope you enjoyed this inside look at the making of Lies, Love & Redemption. I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media!

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.

In 2016 Kelli began re-releasing her romances previously published by Amber Quill Press. Visit her website and blog for a full title list. Her Medallion Press historical western romance, Lies, Love & Redemption, was published in September 2016.

Kelli’s writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her 15 years of experience as a writer. It’s filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

If you like to be scared, check out Kelli’s horror ebooks: Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.

Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.

 CATCH UP WITH KELLI

Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web

Website: www.KelliWilkins.com

Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins

Medallion Press: http://medallionpress.com/author/kelli-wilkins/

Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor

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Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

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Book Spotlight: Dragon’s Treasure by Maya Starling

Dragon's Treasure by Maya Starling

The author will be awarding an ebook and a pendant to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Title: Dragon’s Treasure

Author: Maya Starling

Genre: NA Fantasy

“She was the girl who longed for the freedom of the dragon, and he was the dragon who longed to be a man.”

A heroine reclaiming her fate. A dragon with a secret. A prince on a quest.

Olivia flees to the forest seeking freedom from her family’s demands. She finds refuge in a cave, only to discover it is a dragon’s lair. The dragon, Kaden, is not the monster she first thinks him to be. After overcoming her initial fright – of not being eaten – Olivia discovers that the dragon has a gentle heart.

Kaden is resigned to loneliness after centuries of wandering the lands. Meeting Olivia brings joy to his solitary life, and never has he dreamed that a young woman would be the one to start the change in him.

A storm brews on the horizon.

A prince with a handsome face and a cruel heart is on a quest to slay the dragon, and take the throne. He will do whatever it takes to have what he believes is his to own. And now, he has his eyes set on the pretty little maiden from the forest. He will make her his Queen, whether she wants it or not.

Excerpt

Dragon's Treasure by Maya StarlingPride swelled within Kaden, lifting away the years of darkness that had consumed him as joy filled him for making her that happy. It was a wonderful feeling, after so long alone in the dark, to indulge someone else’s desires.

Olivia’s eyes had never been wider and she was sure her jaw was going to hurt for days because of how much she was smiling. She also didn’t care how many bugs she was going to swallow along the way.

Her heart pounded against her ribcage as fear, exhilarating fear, coursed through her veins mixed with a rush she had never felt before. She couldn’t put it into words; it was so much more exciting and liberating than the first time she went galloping on her own. So liberating. The world far beneath her feet.

Trees rushed by under them in a blur of greens, but as she squinted ahead, she was once again amazed by the view.

Looking at the treetops, Olivia thought that she could just reach down and brush her hands through the leaves, caressing the forest itself. All the green below them and the blue vastness above them made her realize just how big the world was, how tiny her role in it.

So this is what it feels like to fly. Right then, a new addiction bloomed inside her. She had to experience it again. Kaden would surely agree to such request.

Olivia wrapped the little bit of loose rope she had around her hand until it was taut as she sat upright, gazing all around them. She closed her eyes for a few moments and cherished the wind whipping at her face, the chill leaving a trail of gentle nips on her flushed cheeks. But she didn’t mind any of it. She feasted on it; it fed her mind and her soul, refreshing her spirit.

Opening her eyes, Olivia laughed out loud and a happy whoop escaped her lips.

Kaden veered to the left, circling around then flying back to their little clearing. As they glided above forest, the dragon spread his wings wide. He looked back at Olivia when her happy laughter reached his ears.

The healing balm of her being, her joy and innocence spread over his wounded soul.

Author Bio

Maya Starling is a writer, a geek, an animal lover and a gamer. She has lived the life of a magus, an oracle, a goth mortician, a star wars rebel. She has led many lives, sitting at a table, and rolling those dice away.

In reality, she lives with her wife and their adorable little boy, and of course two rescue cats, in a small country of Croatia. Reading and writing are her passion, so you will often find her typing away a new novel or a new short story, or eyes glued to the screen of her phone or a page of a book.

Links

https://www.facebook.com/StarlingMaya/

Twitter: @MayaStarling

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Book Blast: Captain Hawkins by H. Peter Alesso

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

Genre: Sci-fi

Captain HawkinsJamie Hawkins was living on an obscure planet in the twenty third-century when on one fateful night—his life changed forever. His heroic effort to save the lives of innocent women and children, caught in the cross-fire of war, placed him squarely in the crosshairs of avenging soldiers.

 

A former marine, Hawkins was stunned when his rescue effort was seen as treachery. Unfairly convicted of treason by a corrupt judge, he was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor on an infamous penal colony.

 

Once in prison, Hawkins was mistreated by a paranoid warden, but his courage and perseverance won him the admiration and trust of his fellow convicts. While he was plotting his escape, an enemy attacked the planet—giving this daring warrior his chance. Together with his fellow prisoners, he launched a bold assault and high-jacked an enemy warship.

 

From then on, the exploits of Captain Jamie Hawkins became legendary.

 

Excerpt

“Sir, I was working with the data techs trying to analyze the communication patterns of the enemy fleet,” said Joshua, licking his dry lips, excitedly. “And I’ve came across a very unusual signal.”

Hawkins gave him an encouraging nod.

“It was a burst of radio signals from deep space. I traced it to either a 4 billion-year-old star in a constellation 44.4 light years away, or to another star in that same constellation, but much farther away. That means that the radio waves have been travelling to us for at least forty-four point four years.”

Hawkins said, “Deep space radio signals have many plausible explanations, such as radio interference from planets, or rogue signals caused by local planet microwave devices.

“That’s true, Captain. It could be just the effect of a natural space object like a pulsating quasar, but it’s also possible . . . I think maybe . . . it could be a message from another civilization.”

Now smiling broadly, Hawkins said, “Given the unlikeness of that, why are you concerned?”

“Because it was not a one-off event,” said Joshua excitedly and then pausing to catch his breath. “I’ve recorded a half dozen repeating signals from the exact same source.”

Nodding, Hawkins said, “That’s a little more interesting, but there are explanations for that too.”

“But Captain, the implications could be mind-blowing. Imagine, what if it was an alien civilization, and they were far more advanced than us, and they were trying to make contact? After centuries of fruitlessly scanning the stars and finding no evidence that anyone else is out there, this could be . . .  could be . . .”

Joshua became paralyzed by his own imagination.

“Joshua, even if this signal were not natural, it might still be the product of one of Earth’s colonies—not aliens.”

“No sir, I’ve checked. There were no Earth colonies in the vicinity of the signal’s star cluster when we last had contact with Earth, fifty years ago,” said Joshua.

Joshua wanted to argue further, but couldn’t offer any additional proof for his cause.

Hawkins said, “I agree, we should continue to monitor this frequency, but for now, it’ll have to remain a mystery.”

It was only a few days later that Joshua returned to argue, “I’ve been working to decrypt the deep space signal using our AI computer with the help of a data tech.”

Hawkins was surprised, but also impressed with Joshua’s initiative.

“What does a deep space signal have to do with our enemy’s Top Secrets communication network?”

“Everything.”

“You’ll have to explain that.”

“Let me give you a metaphor for how I solved this puzzle, because it is a puzzle.”

“Go on.”

“Think of a portrait of a woman, say the Mona Lisa. Now consider a jigsaw puzzle of the Mona Lisa—a picture of a woman cut into a thousand irregularly sized pieces and spread out for someone to reassemble.”

“A kid’s game.”

“Yes, sir.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Captain Hawkins authorAs a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations, and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of ten books.

Website Address: http://www.hpeteralesso.com/Default.aspx

personal links

Goodreads Address: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/413852.H_Peter_Alesso

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jamie-Hawkins-1296787840384241/?ref=bookmarks

Link to book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M8HVGS3

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