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Book Blitz: Marked by Amy Saunders

Marked
Amy Saunders
(The Birthright, #2)
Publication date: January 31st 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Starting over for Rosamund Brandt is more complicated than it sounds. Especially when the past keeps coming back to haunt her. As she and her mom and brother try to pick up the pieces in a new home, the universe seems determined to tear them apart even more as secrets multiply, and distrust grows.

While new threats and unknowns emerge, Rosamund struggles with her own inner battle. Her new powers are growing whether she wants them or not, and their origins and nature are sketchy at best. The more that’s revealed to her, the more uncertain she feels.

Choosing allies and facing new and old enemies alike may not be their biggest problems. Not if Rosamund’s worst fears come true. Could she be the one they should fear the most?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Sequel to:

25799251

EXCERPT:

Xavier turned his back to me, disappearing among the students walking in all directions. I gulped down the lump in my throat, and headed toward my locker on autopilot. I walked straight down the middle of the hallway, students veering around me one way or the other. Each step was like the last, until gravel crunched beneath my boot.

I stopped walking and glanced down. Instead of tile, I saw charred black gravel. When I looked back up, I was standing in a virtual field of the stuff. There was nothing else around me except some hills the same color. The sky was gray and wind blew strands of my hair across my face. When I brushed the hair away, I saw something glint among the rocks near my feet.

I bent down, brushing the blackened dirt away, revealing something silver. I grazed the edge of it with my fingertips, then plunged my fingers into the gravel, pulling out the object. I stood again, my hand wrapped around it. When I glanced up, I was back in the hallway, students parting around me.

Another memory. Each one seemed to get more vivid and real.

But then I felt something cold in my hand.

I slowly unwrapped my fingers, and charcoaled dirt sifted between them onto the floor, leaving behind a 3-D silver serpentine object the size of my palm. My hand shook. That wasn’t just a memory. I’d physically done something. Or, more to the point, I’d gone somewhere. And I was pretty sure it wasn’t on Earth.

I covered the object in my hand again. I took a step forward, totally ready to skip class to go have a meltdown in the bathroom, when someone grabbed my arm, dragging me across the hall into an empty classroom. I wrenched away, facing the guy from detention–who didn’t exist in school records.

“What are you doing?” he hissed. “Didn’t you grow up like this? I thought you’d know better.”

 

Author Bio:

Amy is a sci-fi/mystery addict with a soft spot for humor and romance. She lives in Massachusetts, and loves to bake and watch movies. Learn more about Amy and her books at http://amysaundersauthor.com.

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Book Blitz: You Give Love a Bad Name by Marilyn Brant

You Give Love a Bad Name
Marilyn Brant
(Mirabelle Harbor #3)
Publication date: January 24th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

“Nothing but love, 24/7” is the slogan of Mirabelle Harbor’s only radio station, 102.5 “LOVE” FM. On the verge of turning thirty-five, local DJ Blake Michaelsen is well-known for several reasons: his very sexy on-air voice, his omnipresent family, his eligible bachelor status, and his reputation as one of the most impulsive men in Chicago’s northern suburbs.

High-school French teacher and lifelong romantic Vicky Bernier is not at all wild about people who exhibit reckless conduct. (Blake.) Or men who have gigantic egos. (Blake.) Or grownups who still act like teenagers. (Blake, again.) She deals with enough adolescent behavior during the school day. Unfortunately, she’s the staff advisor to the Homecoming Committee, and they’ve chosen him as their DJ for the big fall dance.

What happens when a man whose job it is to play love songs for a living is forced to admit his deepest secret—that he doesn’t believe in true love—only to discover that the one woman who might capture his heart is the same woman who distrusts him the most?

No matter what you call it, with love there’s an exception to every rule. YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME, a Mirabelle Harbor story.

**Note: YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME is Book 3 in Marilyn Brant’s Mirabelle Harbor series, but this story and all of the contemporary romances in this series can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels.

Other Books in the Series:

TAKE A CHANCE ON ME (July 2015)

THE ONE THAT I WANT (July 2015)

YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME (January 2016)

STRANGER ON THE SHORE (Coming Spring 2016)

And more…

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EXCERPT:

Blake

One of the perks of working for a radio station was that it wasn’t a nine-to-five kind of job. There was some built-in variety.

So, after a long on-air rotation on Thursday, I was still technically on the clock when I arrived at Mirabelle Harbor High School around 3:15 p.m. and was greeted at the office by a chatty member of the Homecoming committee. Alexis something or other. She escorted me to the meeting location.

Whoa. And there was the French teacher babe, pacing in the middle of her classroom. Gotta love “community outreach” and the surprises it could bring. I had a fresh appreciation for the variety of my job. Spice. Of. Life.

I removed my baseball cap and slid off my sunglasses when the babe—Vicky—looked my way.

“Hey, there,” I said, extending my hand to her.

She looked at me suspiciously, like I might be holding a grenade or something. So I twisted my hand a bit, so she could see my open palm. Her smile seemed forced as she reached out to grasp it.

Small hands. Soft skin. So feminine. I reluctantly let go as she pulled away. She seemed a little off kilter, still staring strangely at me. I sent her my most charming smile.

She took a literal step back, cleared her throat, and said stiffly, “Hello, Mr. Michaelsen. I’m Vicky Bernier, staff advisor to the Homecoming committee.”

Very formal and controlled. Hmm, that was no fun. I wanted to throw her off balance again because she was cute when she was flustered and, hey, I was that kind of guy.

So I beamed an even bigger grin at her. “And you’re a friend of my sister’s,” I said, curious to see if that would disarm her or make her more concerned.

From the expression on her face, definitely the latter. Huh.

“Yes,” she said slowly. “I’ve heard a lot about you from Shar.”

Damn. What did my sister tell her to make her scowl at me like that? Couldn’t be good.

I turned my attention to the four teens in the classroom who were gaping at us like we were cast members on some reality TV dating show.

The chatty girl who’d met me at the office was the first to speak. “On behalf of the Homecoming committee, we’re all so glad you could meet with us today, Mr. Michaelsen. And we’re super psyched that you’ll be DJ’ing our dance.”

“Thanks for the warm welcome,” I replied. “And call me Blake. All of you. I promise we’ll make this fun.” But to myself I couldn’t help but add, Whether or not your teacher wants it to be…



Guest Post by Marilyn Brant

Has there ever been a story you’ve wanted to tell — one that hovers on the edges of your imagination for years and involves characters you feel you already know — but you just didn’t have quite the right setting or atmosphere or je ne sais quoi for them yet? For me, YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME started as one of those stories. I knew Blake Michaelsen, the local, radio DJ, very well. I knew Vicky Bernier, the high-school French teacher, too. And I sensed, like one of the matchmaking aunties in my family, that “they would be perfect together.” I just wasn’t sure which story world I wanted them to inhabit or what might realistically bring them into contact.

And for the longest time, there’s been a dog named “Winston” — one inspired by a real Havanese/Cockapoo puppy belonging a friend — that I longed to include in a book as well (cue the entrance of that adorable floppy-eared furball on the back of the paperback cover), but it wasn’t until I realized that Blake was his ideal owner and that Mirabelle Harbor was the ideal setting, that this story, its characters, and their conflict all came together. It was as if these players were meandering around in my mind…until they just so happened to cross paths in my fictional community and needed to start telling their tale.

Writing fiction can be like that—not all the time, but certainly sometimes. It’s almost like a slot machine with an unknown number of cherries, bars, bells, or sevens. We might test out different combinations or just hope for a lucky spin, but when we can get a good set of images to mentally line up, we hit a narrative jackpot of rightness — a spot where the separate elements coalesce into a complete story. For me, once a magical moment like that happens, I can never imagine pulling the pieces apart again. The formerly individual entities — in this case, Blake, Vicky, Winston, and the town of Mirabelle Harbor — locked into place like a row of 7s. And that cinched the direction of the novel.

I really hope you’ll love reading YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME as much as I loved writing it! Has there ever been a novel you had in your hands where — once you started reading it — you couldn’t imagine any other characters or setting for that particular tale? I’d love to hear about that ;). Wishing you a wonderful week!

 

Author Bio:

Marilyn Brant is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy & mystery. She won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart Award (2007) for her debut novel, According to Jane, and was named the Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She loves all things Jane Austen, has a passion for Sherlock Holmes, is a travel addict and a music junkie, and lives on chocolate and gelato. The Mirabelle Harbor series is her latest project. Visit her website: http://www.marilynbrant.com

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New Release review: Dirty Trick by Emma Hart

 

dirty tricks

Title:  Dirty Trick

Series: The Burke Brothers #4

 

Author: Emma Hart

Publisher: Pocket Star

Publication Date: 1/25/2016

 

Genre:  New Adult Romance

Pages:  259 pages

 

Rating:  5/5 swoonworthy stars!!!!!

 

 

Synopsis:  The sexiest, most mysterious Burke brother of all peels back his stage persona to reveal the real man—and the rock-hard body—behind the rockstar in the banging fourth book from New York Times bestselling author Emma Hart’s hot new adult series that began with Dirty Past, Dirty Secret, and Dirty Lies.

After witnessing an endless string of late nights, long tours, and eager groupies her world-famous father could never resist, Chelsey Young knows the dirty truth behind the glamorous façade of the rockstar life. Which is exactly why she takes hot as hell guitarist Kye Burke to bed when he decides he wants her.

One night. That’s how rockstars roll.

Unless your name is Kye Burke. The quietest of all his brothers, Kye’s style has never really been pumping and dumping, so pursuing Chelsey isn’t a hard choice for him. The hard part is keeping hold of the girl who’s hotter than the Sahara one minute then so cold even Antarctica wouldn’t touch her the next…despite the fact that they can’t stay away from each other.

The fact that he’s about to leave for L.A. to record the newest Dirty B. album doesn’t work in his favor, either. A long-distance relationship is the reason Chelsey’s parents divorced, and she’s sworn them off. Completely. Forever. No way.

Kye has two weeks to prove to Chelsey that he isn’t the kind of man her father is. She has two weeks to convince him that it’s never going to happen. But Kye didn’t get where he is by giving up…and even if it’s the fight of his life, there’s no way he’s giving Chelsey up.

 

 

Review:   Please excuse me.  I’m a little teary-eyed knowing that one of my favorite series is now ended.  *sniff, sniff*

 

I have had a long and satisfying love affair with the swoonworthy Burke brothers since I read book one – Dirty Secret.  All four of the Burke boys are lovable, but I have been waiting and waiting for Kye’s story in Dirty Tricks.

 

Let me explain the boys if you haven’t read the books.  Connor the nice one.  Tate’s the asshole.  Aidan is the manwhore.  Kye is the mysterious one.

 

Kye is everyone’s best friend and no one’s boyfriend.  He is everyone’s shoulder to lean on.  Kye has had a thing for Chelsey since high school, but Chelsey is a prickly one.  She is proud of her bitch moniker.  They have a one night stand and suddenly Kye can’t get enough.  Unfortunately for him, Chelsey thinks it’s a mistake and she can’t remember most of it.  They have this fiery connection and undeniable attraction, but Kye is a rock star and Chesley doesn’t do rock stars.  Her father was a famous rock star and he left her and her mother high and dry for groupies and the rock star lifestyle.  Chelsey has never gotten over that.  Kye wants Chesley and he will do everything in his power to convince her that he is not her father and that he won’t hurt her.

 

Two pages in and I was skyrocketing Kye to the top of my book boyfriend list.  I knew, without a doubt, that he was going to be my favorite and I was not disappointed.  The chemistry between Kye and Chelsey is off-the-charts.  I wanted to smack Chelsey upside her head a few times so she would get out of her head.  I think I might have yelled something along the lines of “wake up you idiot,” more than once and that’s a good thing.  It means you are invested in the book.

 

Dirty Tricks has romance, disappointed, angst, and the perfect amount of steaminess to make it a winner and the perfect wrap up to a series I have seen in a long time.  (Hart includes POVs from all the Burke boys in the epilogue so you can see where they are all at in their lives).

 

My recommendation:   Make this a part of your library.  ***This can be read as a standalone, but the Burke Brothers is a must-read series.  Start with book one.  You will thank me.

Dirty Rich

Book Blitz: State of Destruction by Summer Lane

State of Destruction
Summer Lane
(Collapse #7)
Publication date: January 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

The destruction of California is at hand.

Cassidy Hart and Chris Young have survived a dangerous mission into the heart of Sky City, a secret Omega base hidden deep in the mountains, but their vengeance has come with a price. The dark, ominous cloud of nuclear war threatens to destroy everything they love, and they are forced to make one final stand against Omega’s western invasion force.

San Francisco.

Cassidy and her friends retreat to Alcatraz Island, regrouping with their lethal strike team, the Angels of Death. Their mission: infiltrate the most important Omega base on the west coast, and assassinate everyone they find there, including a new and dangerous enemy, the ruthless Omega leader Veronica Klaus.

The clock is ticking.

Ashes rain from the sky. Cassidy Hart must make a choice.

What is more important? Victory, love or revenge?

Omega is the enemy’s name.

Survival of the fittest is their game.

Cassidy Hart will not stop until she has saved California…but will she be too late?

Book #7 of the Bestselling Collapse Series by Summer Lane

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

SNEAK PEEK:

The dark, dank smell of the cave seeps into my bones and chills my soul. Dim, flickering firelight crawls up the walls, throwing a shadow across my face. I hug my blanket tightly around my shoulders, shivering. It is painfully silent.

There are people everywhere—about thirty of us—but there is no talking. No whispering, no laughing. We are too tired to talk. Too cold. Small fires have been lit here in the cave, but it is hardly enough to remedy the cloying chill of the winter storm.

It is all sharp angles and rocky slopes in here. There is no soft surface, no privacy. Most people are asleep right now. It has become the only way to make the time pass quicker. Waiting, as we are, for the storms to end. For this harsh winter to be over.

But it is not getting better.

It is getting worse.

I cough and shudder. We have been trapped here for weeks. I feel as if the walls are falling down around me, devouring me. I close my eyes tightly, brushing my calloused fingers over the familiar, worn grip of my rifle.

Soon, this will all be over.

Soon, we will all be dead.



Interview with Summer Lane

Topic:

Where Collapse is Headed: And What Happens After!

This is your seventh installment in the Collapse Series! When is the series ending?

The Collapse Series will end at the tenth installment, but that does not mean that the characters are going away forever. The Collapse Series does exactly what it’s name suggests: it follows the collapse of society and civilization. After I’m done with that, I can move to what happens after.

When is Book 8 releasing?

Summer 2016. The next book will take Cassidy somewhere she has never been before – far away, to a place full of surprises. I can’t say too much, because I don’t want to spoil State of Destruction! Let’s just say it will be pretty cold where she’s going.

Any other books?

I announced that I’m working on releasing another series this year, The Bravo Saga. This series follows the adventures of the fierce and loyal Bravo, the German Shepherd companion of Elle Costas in the Zero Trilogy. He’s one of the most popular characters – if not THE most popular – that I have ever created for readers, so I’m excited to share his story next.

How do you write so many books a year?

Hmm. I’m not really sure. I’ve been so incredibly busy for three years – I haven’t stopped to think or breathe. It’s definitely a positive thing, but I will probably start to roll back to 2-3 book releases a year after the Collapse Series has finished. Just so I can have a little downtime between books. It’s important to rest your brain when you’ve been creating non-stop for such a long period of time.

 

Author Bio:

Summer Lane is the #1 Bestselling Author of The Collapse Series and the compelling tie-in novella books of The Zero Trilogy, as well as the upcoming Bravo Saga (releasing Spring 2016). She is also the author of Collapse: The Illustrated Guide, a #1 bestselling graphic companion to her phenomenal original series.

She is the owner of WB Publishing and Writing Belle, an online magazine. Summer is also an accomplished journalist and creative writing teacher.

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her days writing, teaching, and writing some more. When she is not writing, she enjoys leisurely visits with friends at coffee shops, movie dates, reading and spending the day at the beach or mountains.

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Book Blitz: Alexa Loved by T. R. Cupak

Alexa Loved
T.R. Cupak
(Alexa #2)
Publication date: October 6th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

After her parents died during her senior year of high school, Alexa Morgan is completely alone in the world—except for her best-friend-turned-boyfriend Devin, identical twins Becca and Jessa, and Sebastian, a mysterious associate of her father’s.

Upon graduation, Alexa wants nothing more than to move on with her life, go to college, and forget all the hard and hurtful things from her tragic past. But when her first love, Ethan, shows up at her graduation—it kicks off a whirlwind of events that threatens the good and stable things she’s worked so hard to achieve.

Ethan and Alexa shared one night of passion before he disappeared, leaving her bewildered and confused. But now he’s back, declaring that he loves her and that the only reason he left was to protect her from his malicious stepmother, Olivia.

In her heart, Alexa knows she loves Devin, but her attraction to Ethan is so strong she can’t help but be drawn in by their shared chemistry. Meanwhile, the threat of Olivia lurks around the edges, casting a menacing shadow over everything and everyone Alexa loves.

Sequel to:

25567871

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Only 99¢ for a limited time only!

AL Sale Revised

EXCERPT:

Although it feels like time has completely stopped it most definitely has not. I am completely oblivious to how long Ethan and I have been standing outside my hotel room when we are startled apart by the sound of a very pissed off, deep, familiar voice.

“What the fuck is going on, Lexi?” Devin’s heated voice booms through the open hallway making me cringe and my body turn to stone at the sound. I’m still partially wrapped up in Ethan’s arms but when I finally detangle myself completely out of his hold, I step to the side of him so I can see Devin. I get a pretty good view of him too since he’s standing only a few feet behind Ethan with hate evident in his normally kind eyes. I know shock is all over my face as I stare at Devin as if he’s just a figment of my imagination. Ethan hasn’t moved a muscle. His back is to his enemy yet he chooses to stay facing me. It takes another few seconds before I finally take notice to what Devin is wearing. He has on running shorts and running shoes. His body is glistening with sweat and his face is red as if he was actually outside running in the Miami heat.

What the hell? My emotions are all over the place. Confused, scared, hurt, happy. I swear on my parent’s urns that Devin was just in bed with the twins. How is he standing here like he was actually out for a run and why can’t I find my damned voice to ask that very question? Suddenly I hear the twins’ door to their room open. I turn my attention behind me just as a random guy, who looks like he could be Devin’s fraternal twin brother or doppelganger, exits the twins’ room. My mind automatically fishes for the memory of my conversation with Jesse. Once I replay what he had said privately plus all of the banter with his buddies, I can see how a drunken person could mistake Mr. Random for Devin. The twins’ guest is wearing gray boardshorts and flips flops and steps out carrying his black T-shirt in his hand. He stops when he sees the three of us standing here. I’m sure we’re quite the sight to see. Me, with red watery eyes and airplane stale clothes, Ethan who has not moved but his irritation is quite evident, and Devin who looks as if he is ready to kill Ethan. The stranger who appears to be very much hung over but oozes sexual satisfaction gives us a half smile, says “Hey” to Devin, and inches past the soon-to-be war zone towards the elevator. It’s usually females you see doing the walk of shame but this morning it’s this wonderful guy, this wonderful guy who isn’t Devin. Shit. Devin.

“Answer me, Alexa.” Devin’s voice is seething and it makes me snap my head back around to face him. I glance briefly at Ethan and I see his eyes are screwed shut, jaw tense, the vein in his neck is pulsing, and his fists are clenched at his sides. Well shit. I can’t explain this because I don’t fully understand it all myself. I look back to Devin who is staring at me with so much anger and hurt that it takes my breath away.

Devin takes two steps closer and Ethan’s eyes snap open. Before either one can do anything I step between both of them. I’ve been in this position once before and just like the last time I have no idea what I could or would do if these two decided to throw down. I take another step towards Devin. He just stares down at me waiting for his answer.

My voice is quiet when I finally speak to him. “Devin, I can explain part of this but I can’t explain Ethan being here because I don’t have that answer-yet.”

“Do you think I’m fucking stupid, Lexi?” There is so much pain evident in his voice that my tears start to spill again.

“No, Devin. I don’t think you’re stupid. Can we please go into our room and talk privately?” I know I sound pathetic but that’s probably because I am. I just want to be alone with Devin and figure out this craziness.

Just when I think Devin is going to concede and go into our room with me I feel one of Ethan’s hands settle on my hip and that one tiny gesture sends Devin flying over the proverbial edge. Everything happens so fast that all I feel is my body being shoved out of the way like I’m a ragdoll. I trip over my bags and my head slams against a solid surface and everything goes black.

AL_J2B Revised Sale Teaser

Author Bio:

T. R. Cupak was born and raised in the California Bay Area. She now lives in a quiet town south of where she grew up with her husband and their shih tzu Harley. She is obsessed with cars, especially fast ones, and enjoys her music louder than anyone should. When she’s not at work or busy writing, you can find her curled up, reading and enjoying a fabulous glass of wine or a Dirty Shirley.

Despite her lifelong love of literature, Cupak lost touch with her creative side in her early twenties. Her passion for reading was rekindled six years ago, however, and in 2013 she started journaling. This practice helped Cupak hone her creative aspirations, and soon she saw her characters come to life. She has rediscovered her passion for storytelling and wants to share her words with everyone who wants to read them.

Please help support my Thunderclap campaign as well: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/36855-tr-cupak-s-alexa-series

Newsletter Sign-up: http://eepurl.com/bM6Evv

Also, join me for my 1 year anniversary and making 1k Likes party on 2/11: https://www.facebook.com/events/1716365018599134/?hc_location=ufi

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Book Blitz: The Prophecy of Shadows by Michelle Madow

The Prophecy of Shadows
Michelle Madow
(Elementals #1)
Published by: Dreamscape Publishing
Publication date: January 26th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Filled with magic, thrilling adventure, and sweet romance, Elementals is the first in a new series that fans of Percy Jackson and The Secret Circle will love!

When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers–and, to her dismay, by Blake–the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect–it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.

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“Elementals is going to blow your mind!”

-Crossroad Reviews, ★★★★★

“Five glittery stars for being such a compelling read!”

-Andrea Heltsley, Goodreads Reviewer ★★★★★

“A perfect mixture of magic and mythology. An entrancing story of trust, friendship and well naughty boys. WITCHES are not the only thing walking the earth!”

– BenjaminOfTomes, BookTuber ★★★★★

EXCERPT:

Everyone stared at me, and I looked to the front of the room, where a tall, lanky man in a tweed suit stood next to a blackboard covered with the morning announcements. His gray hair shined under the light, and his wrinkled skin and warm smile reminded me more of a grandfather than a teacher.

He cleared his throat and rolled a piece of chalk in his palm. “You must be Nicole Cassidy,” he said.

“Yeah.” I nodded and looked around at the other students. There were about thirty of them, and there seemed to be an invisible line going down the middle of the room, dividing them in half. The students near the door wore jeans and sweatshirts, but the ones closer to the wall looked like they were dressed for a fashion show instead of school.

“It’s nice to meet you Nicole.” The teacher sounded sincere, like he was meeting a new friend instead of a student. “Welcome to our homeroom. I’m Mr. Faulkner, but please call me Darius.” He turned to the chalkboard, lifted his hand, and waved it from one side to the other. “You probably weren’t expecting everything to look so normal, but we have to be careful. As I’m sure you know, we can’t risk letting anyone else know what goes on in here.”

Then the board shimmered—like sunlight glimmering off the ocean—and the morning announcements changed into different letters right in front of my eyes.

Author Bio:

Michelle Madow grew up in Baltimore, graduated Rollins College in Orlando, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She wrote her first book in her junior year of college, and has been writing novels since. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle has toured across America to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.

Visit Michelle online at www.michellemadow.com, and be sure to sign up for her newsletter and follow her on Amazon to get instant updates on her books!

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Mafia Takeover Book Blitz

Mafia Takeover
Amy Rachiele, E.J. Fechenda, Kat Shehata, Lisa Cardiff
Genres: Adult, Suspense

Russian Tattoos by Kat Shehata

Falling in love isn’t a crime—but falling in love with a Russian mafia boss could be deadly.

Competitive tennis player Carter Cook wants a taste of freedom. Her overprotective father monitors every aspect of her life, so when he becomes employed by Vladimir Ivanov—a sexy Russian with an array of tattoos and an accent that weakens her knees—a bit of danger is within Carter’s grasp. Behind her father’s back, she enjoys spending time with Vladimir at his lavish estate. But is he really the upstanding businessman she believes him to be? [Read more…]

The Bargain by Lisa Cardiff

Three weeks, twenty-one days, or five hundred and four hours…

That’s all it took to derail my life and twist it into something unrecognizable. One moment I had Evan, the man I thought I’d marry. The next moment shattered the illusion.

Now I have no one.

Except him. [Read more…]

The Beautiful People by E.J. Fechenda

Natalie Ross has always gone to her brother for help. Grant’s been her rock throughout their turbulent childhood. Knowing she’s struggling financially, he gets her a job at Crimson, one of the hottest nightclubs in Philadelphia where he works as head of security. Natalie promises Grant she won’t get sucked into the party scene or involved with any of her co-workers because she’s focused on finishing her last semester of college. Her promise doesn’t last 24-hours once she meets Dominic. [Read more…]

Mobster’s Girl by Amy Rachiele

Gripping my chest is the only way to hold myself together or what’s left of me will fall out. The past week has enlightened me on one thing-I don’t care.

Megan, Mobster’s Girl

I didn’t even hesitate. I took two strides and blasted him in the face with my fist. He was ready for it this time-unlike in church. He tried to hit me back but I ducked and smashed him again.

Antonio, Mobster’s Girl [Read more…]

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Book Blitz: Whatever It Take by Lindsey Pogue

Whatever It Takes
Lindsey Pogue
(Nothing But Trouble, #1)
Publication date: January 22nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Four years ago, I thought my life was pretty normal for a teenager. Three years ago, my world was shattered, and now I’m just trying to hold the pieces together. But regret and anger aren’t so easy to ignore.

I just need to catch my breath … for it all to go away …

I thought I might finally be ready to move on from that horrible night, but then he decided to come back.

He can’t come back … he’ll ruin me completely.

One horror-filled night changes the course of Samantha’s seemingly normal life. She’s ruined everything. Despite her determination to keep the family ranch up and running, her guilt makes it impossible to completely move on or forget.

Sam takes comfort in her quirky, endearing friends as she tries to balance between the girl she was and the woman she wants to become. Just when she thinks she’s finally making amends with her past, someone she never thought she’d see again returns, and Sam’s life is once again turned upside down. Both her head and her heart want different things, so she’s lost when, once again, she’s forced to make a decision that will inevitably change her life.

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Author Bio:

Lindsey Pogue has always been a little creative. As a child she established a bug hospital on her elementary school soccer field, wrote her first YA manuscript in high school, and as an adult, expresses herself through writing. Her novels are inspired by her observations of the world around her—whether she’s traveling, people watching, or hiking. When not plotting her next storyline or dreaming up new, brooding characters, Lindsey’s wrapped in blankets watching her favorite action flicks or going on road trips with her own leading man.

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EXCERPTS

The Witches of Dark Root (Excerpt)

 

Prologue: Magic Man

 

Miss Sasha’s Magick Shoppe, Dark Root, Oregon

February, 2005

 

The shop was cold and dimly lit, musty and confining.

A spider web had attached itself to the archway that separated the main room from the back and I ducked each time I passed beneath it, not bothering to sweep it down. Shelves lined every wall of Mother’s Magick shop, displaying the hundreds of candles, masks, figurines, and baubles that made Miss Sasha’s the most popular attraction in all of Dark Root.

While the oddities fascinated tourists, I hardly noticed them anymore as I went about my work.  I hardly noticed anything anymore, except the clock that ticked down the minutes until I was released from my daily servitude.

“Excuse me,” said a woman who had been meandering near the book section for the last hour. “Where is your restroom?”

I responded by opening the front door.

She looked like she was going to protest but decided against it. My apathy for the shop was notorious. She would probably lodge a complaint with my mother instead.

“You need to order more peppermint,” my sister Eve said, emerging from the back room and sucking on a piece of candy.   “We’ve been out for almost a week.”

“You order it,” I responded.

If she was going to eat the supplies, she could order them as well.

Eve launched into a series of reasons why I should perform the task––I was practically a boy and therefore, better at math, I had no social life and thus had far more time for work, etc. I was about to tell her that it wouldn’t bother me if we ran out of everything, that the whole place could implode for all I cared, when a crystal figurine on a low shelf caught my eye. It was an owl, an ugly thing with eyes that bulged and a beak that hooked. I wasn’t sure who had ordered it but I was certain it would never find a buyer.

“Bet I beat you out of this town,” I said, tapping its beak.

A losing bet, I realized. It had wings. I didn’t even have a car.

I checked the clock again––five minutes ‘til closing time––and glanced around the shop. It wasn’t as clean as my mother would have wanted, but then again my mother wasn’t here.

“I say we call it done,” I said, tossing my apron on the counter.

“Maggie, come take a look.”

Eve stood by the window. Her fingers twitched as she pointed to a man I had never seen before, seated by the window in Delilah’s Deli across the street.

“Who is he?” she asked. “I don’t recognize him.”

I moved to get a better view, nudging her out of the way. “Well, he isn’t from around here.”

Eve clucked her tongue. Of course, he wasn’t from around here. His sophisticated clothing identified him as a city person, not a man who spent much time slinking around a small town in Central Oregon.

“He’s handsome,” she said and I silently agreed. Though it was getting dark I could still make out his thick mane of wavy brown hair and the strong line of his jaw. He was leaning forward, talking to a gaunt young man who hung on his every word.

“We have to find out what he’s doing here,” Eve said. “It’s just not natural.” Though the town festered with tourists during the fall months when we held the Haunted Dark Root Festival, it was rare to see anyone arrive after November and before May.

“Probably just passing through on his way to Salem or Portland. Blew out a tire or had to use the bathroom.”

“You have no imagination.”

Eve chattered on about how he was probably a famous Hollywood producer. She couldn’t allow anyone a normal life; she always reached for the dramatic.

But she was right. There was something special about the stranger. He had an energy that popped and sparkled.

As if he knew he was being watched, he turned in our direction. Eve ducked but I held my position, staring back. His eyes were as grey and stormy as the Oregon coastline. He knew things…secrets and mysteries.

I felt jolted awake after a long sleep.

“We should bring him over.” Eve’s dark eyes flashed as she pushed a step-stool across the floor to gather oils and vials from the top shelf. Next, she collected an assortment of herbs from bins beneath the counter. “…Candles. I need purple candles.”

Like a fly to a spider, I thought as I watched her. She was driven when she had a mission, not the same dreamy girl who stared out the window all day talking about the life she was missing out on while she ignored customers.

“We could just walk across the street and talk to him,” I said, moving away from the window.

“Just because you’re too good for magic, doesn’t mean some of us don’t respect the craft.”

“I never said I was against magic.”

“Just practicing it. We can’t all be Wilders, you know?” Eve placed her stack onto the counter and arranged the objects into neat piles.

I felt my face redden. Wilder was a slang word, used to describe a witch who had no control over her magic. The light above us flickered.

Besides,” Eve grinned, as if she had said nothing wrong. “This is far more fun. Now, where’s the book?” She scanned the room for our mother’s spell book.

I shrugged. If she wanted to lure a man here against his will that was her business, but I wasn’t going to help.

“Here it is!” She held up a small, leather-bound journal in her hands. It was a rare book, Mother claimed, filled with spells and incantations that would have been lost to time were they not carefully preserved on these pages. As a result, only Mother’s direct descendants could remove the book from her store without suffering a terrible curse.

What the curse was, nobody knew, but Miss Sasha’s magick was formidable, and no one in Dark Root wanted to risk it.

Eve went to work creating a concoction of vanilla, rose petals and thyme, hardly glancing at the open book beside her. She had probably committed her man-luring spell to heart.

“Wouldn’t it be exciting if we fell in love and he took me away from this horrible town? Now that Merry is gone, there’s nothing to keep me here.”

I felt a dagger in my heart at the mention of our older sister’s name. Merry had left three years ago to marry some guy she barely knew and nothing had been the same since.

“You really think you’re going to get out of here before me?” I asked.

“Someone’s got to take care of Mom. Besides,” Eve looked at the clock on the far wall then back to me, “I have to get out of here. I’m going to be a famous actress one day. A psychic told me.”

I snorted, peeking out the window again. The curtains to Delilah’s Deli were shut now, indicating that the cafe was closed. I glanced up and down the street, hoping to see a sign of him or his car, but the street was empty. “Even if your spell does work and you get him to wander over here, what makes you think he’s going to fall in love with you?”

“The travel spell is only part of it,” she said. “One sip of my special tea and he’ll treat me like the goddess I am.” Eve retreated into the back room, returning with a white porcelain cup and matching teapot. “You might not have dreams, Maggie, but I do. God forbid that three years from now when I’m your age, I’m still working as a sales girl in this dump.” She dropped her apron on the floor and kicked it under the counter.

Without warning the door opened, startling us both.

The stranger entered, removing his grey felt hat. He looked around the shop, taking it in. I glanced at Eve, wondering how her travel spell could have worked so quickly.

She shrugged in response.

“Well, hello there,” she said, regaining her composure “Our shop is closed but we were just making tea. You are welcome to join us.” She slinked towards the man, offering him the teacup.

The stranger blinked uncertainly, declining the tea with a wave of his hand. He strode past my sister and stood before me.

“Actually,” he said, staring at me with mystical eyes. “Maggie Maddock, I’m here for you.”

 

****

Excerpt from Black in White (Quentin Black Mysteries #1)

Two

FIRST INTERVIEW

 

HE LOOKED ME over when I walked in.

Unlike a lot of people I’d interviewed in this room, suspects and witnesses alike, he didn’t hide his appraisal. He also didn’t do anything to try and get me on his side––like smile, or make his body language more accommodating or submissive.

He didn’t try to intimidate me either, at least not that I noticed.

Again, the predominant emotion I saw in his assessment remained impatience.

He seemed, more than anything, to assume I was here to waste his time, too.

At the same time, I got the sense there was more there––more in relation to me specifically, I mean. Nothing sexual, at least I didn’t think so.

What that “more” was exactly, I had absolutely no theories at that point.

Maybe I simply wasn’t what––or who––he’d expected.

Maybe my appearance threw him.

I’m used to that, to a degree. I’m tall for a woman, almost five-nine. My mom was Native American, like I said, and from one of the plains tribes that actually had some real height on them. I’m not sure what our dad was, since I never met any of his family, but he was tall too. I’d gotten hints of his bone structure, along with my mom’s. I also got his light-hazel eyes, which people tell me are striking on me but were positively riveting on my father. My mom joked once she could have fallen in love with my father from his eyes alone.

The rest of me was my mother, according to my aunts. Straight black hair, full mouth, my sense of humor, even my curves, which were slightly less curvy from the martial arts classes, but not fully absent either.

In other words, even under all of my professional armor, I’m definitely female.

I can’t exactly hide it, even in suits and with my hair tied tightly back.

For my part, I didn’t bother to smile at him either, or do any of the usual heavy-handed shrink things to try and convince him I was “on his side” or even particularly friendly towards him. Right off, I got the feeling that those kinds of tactics wouldn’t work on this guy.

He would see right through them.

Worse, trying it would probably cause him to dismiss me, too.

So yeah, I approached him assuming he was a psychopath.

Of course, the technical term these days, at least according to the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (or “DSM” as we shrink-types called it) is “Anti-Social Personality Disorder” or ASPD. Those of us who work in forensic psych know a lot of the specific signs that go with this diagnosis––as well as ways to pick out the truly dangerous ones––but generally, there’s a longer sussing-out period involved.

The most dangerous types were harder to spot.

Often highly intelligent, deeply manipulative, glibly charming, uninterested in other people and totally unwilling to acknowledge the individual rights of anyone apart from themselves, the more dangerous individuals with anti-social personality disorder were masters at evading detection by psychs who couldn’t see past the veneer.

Narcissistic bordering on grandiose. Inflated sense of their own entitlement. Zero compunction about manipulating others. Generally lacking the capacity for love. Generally lacking the ability to feel shame or remorse. They either experienced only shallow emotions or feigned emotion altogether. They had a constant need for stimulation…

Well, you get the idea.

Truthfully, I doubted this guy would talk to me any more than he would talk to the cops.

Well, unless he decided I could help him in some way, or perhaps entertain him…since “short attention span” was often a big issue for the average psychopath. Or perhaps he would treat me differently because he wanted a female audience instead of a male one; I was reasonably certain that only male cops had been tried on him so far.

Either way, I strongly suspected I wouldn’t win him over by trying to play him for a fool, at least not right out of the gate.

I seated myself in the metal folding chair across the table from him.

I did my own quick once-over of the room, even though I’d been in here a few dozen times already––reminding myself of the location of the cameras, looking at the four corners out of habit. My eyes glanced down to where the suspect’s ankles had been cuffed, not only to one another but to metal rings in the floor. His wrist cuffs were also chained to his waist, as well as to those same rings in the floor.

Glen already assured me that the range of the chains wouldn’t allow him to reach me as long as I stayed in the chair.

Still, he’d warned me not to get any closer.

I didn’t need to be told twice. The guy looked a lot bigger from in here.

He also looked significantly more muscular.

Leaning back in the hard, metal seat, I watched those gold, cat-like eyes flicker over me. They didn’t pause anywhere for long, much less conduct one of those lecherous, lingering appraisals some convicts did in an attempt to unsettle me.

I sensed a methodicalness to his stare, instead.

That unnerved me a little, truthfully, maybe because it surprised me.

Even for a psychopath, that kind of focus was rare. Usually other people just weren’t that interesting to them.

Then again, captivity may have changed that for him, too.

My eyes took in his appearance for the second time that day, lingering on the strangely high cheekbones still colored with smears of dried blood. I saw flakes of that blood on the surface of the table too, from where it had been rubbed off by his metal cuffs.

Wincing, I glanced up to find him staring at me once more, his gold eyes bordering on thoughtful as they took in my face.

When he didn’t break the silence after a few seconds more, I leaned back more deliberately, crossing my legs in the dark-blue pantsuit I wore.

“So,” I said, sighing. “You don’t want to talk to anyone.”

I didn’t bother to state it as a question.

The man’s eyes flickered back to my face, specifically to my eyes.

After a pause, I saw a faint smile tease the edges of his lips.

“I doubt my words would be very convincing,” he said.

I must have jumped a little in my chair, but he pretended not to notice.

“…Covered in blood,” he continued, motioning with one cuffed hand, likely as much as he could, given the restraints. Still, something in the odd grace of the gesture struck me, causing me to follow it with my eyes. “…Picked up near the scene of the crime. And you have witnesses, too, I suspect? Or did those three little girls decide it wasn’t worth getting in trouble with their parents by calling the police in the wee hours of dawn?”

His words surprised me.

More, the longer he spoke.

Not only because he said them, but because they came out with a clipped, sharp accuracy and cadence. They wore the barest trace of an accent too, although it was one I couldn’t identify. His manner of speech certainly implied a greater than average amount of education.

“In any case,” the man said, leaning back so that the chains clanked at his ankles and on the table. “…I imagine I lack credibility, wouldn’t you say, doc?”

I heard murmurings of surprise through my earpiece, too.

Apparently, I’d already gotten more out of him than any of them had.

I smoothed my expression without trying to hide my own surprise. Instead, I watched him openly, letting him see me do it.

“Doc,” I said.

At his widening smile, I returned it, adding a touch of wry humor and raising an eyebrow.

“You think I am a doctor?”

“Aren’t you?” he said at once. “Military, too, I suspect. Once upon a time. I saw you checking the corners. You’ve carried a gun…haven’t you, doc? Maybe you even carry one now.” He glanced around him ruefully. “Not in here, of course.”

I shifted in my chair, not answering him.

“Aren’t you a doctor?” he prompted.

“Depends on who you ask,” I said drily, sighing a little.

Without taking my eyes off his, I leaned to the side somewhat, resting my arm on the back of the folding chair.

“Psychiatrist then,” he said, adjusting his posture as well, a perhaps intentional replication of the old psychology trick of imitating the poses of those you want to confide in you. “Or psychologist…only a real one, with a PhD. So perhaps it was a criminal psych ward where you honed your paranoia, not the military. You could be a social worker too, I suppose…although I have my doubts. You have too much of a clinical air about you, not enough of that needy, do-gooder type of saccharin that the softer arts tend to attract.” His smile sharpened. “I would say dentist, but under the circumstances…”

Again that eloquent gesture of his fingers, this time indicating the room.

“…I am thinking that is not likely.”

“I’m a psychologist,” I told him easily. “Right in one.”

“So you are here to assess me, then?” he said. “Or are they hoping the presence of an attractive female would send me frothing and panting? Get me to show my true colors? Shall I start screaming ‘Die Bitch!’ to satisfy those watching through the glass?”

I smiled again, unintentionally that time.

“If you want,” I told him, muting the smile. “Do you want me to die?”

“Not particularly,” he said.

“Really? Why not?” I said.

“I think you’re the first person I’ve seen here with an IQ above that of a balding ape. Although that one inspector…he’s got a bit of that base, instinctive kind of intellect. Only a bit, mind you. You know who I mean. Joe Handsome.”

“It’s Nick, actually,” I said, smiling in spite of myself.

“Ah, he’s a friend of yours, then?”

“Not a special friend, if that’s what you mean.”

“I didn’t, but it’s interesting information to have. Clearly the topic has come up between you, or you wouldn’t have bothered to qualify it.”

I shook my head, unimpressed with this last, and letting him see that, too.

“Really?” I said. “You’re going there?”

“Going where?”

“Discredit the female by making some disparaging reference to her sexuality? Dismiss her as an equal by highlighting her value or lack thereof as a sexual object?”

“I profoundly apologize,” he said, giving me a startled look. The surprise I could see in those almond eyes may have been mocking me, but it looked genuine. “…My comments certainly weren’t meant to be disparaging. I have no intention of resorting to such cheap tricks, doctor, simply to feel I’ve ‘outwitted’ you. Sadly, my ego won’t permit it.” Pausing, he added, “Would it help you to know I get sex on a regular basis too? I don’t know that it would demean me in your eyes or if it would come off as bragging…in any case, I did not bring up your own sexuality as anything other than a personal curiosity.”

I tilted my head, still smiling, but letting my puzzlement show.

“Why are you talking to me at all?” I asked finally.

“Why shouldn’t I talk to you?” he said. “I’ve already told you that you’re the first person to walk in here that I thought might be worth my attempting to communicate.”

“Because I’m female?” I said.

“Because you seem to be less of a fool than the rest of them,” he corrected me at once.

“But you said Nick had a mind?”

“I said he had a mind of sorts. Not the same thing at all. Although, given the nature of his intellect, he has undoubtedly chosen the right profession for himself.”

I smiled again. “I’m sure that will be quite a relief for him.”

I heard laughter in the earpiece that time, right before Nick spoke up.

“See if he’ll tell you his name,” he said to me.

“Certainly, if you really want to know,” the suspect said, before I could voice the question aloud. “My name is Black. Quentin Black. Middle initial, R.”

I stared at him, still recovering from the fact that he’d seemingly heard Nick give me an instruction through the earpiece.

Clearly, he wanted me to know he’d heard it, too.

“You heard that?” I said to him.

“Good ear, yes?” he said. Smiling, he gave me a more cryptic, yet borderline predatory look. “Less good with you, however. Significantly less good.”

He paused, studying my face with eyes full of meaning.

I almost got the sense he was waiting for me to reply…or maybe just to react. When I didn’t, he leaned back in the chair, making another of those graceful, flowing gestures with his hand.

“I find that…fascinating, doc. Quite intriguing. Perhaps that is crossing a boundary with you again, however? To mention that?”

I paused on his words, then decided to dismiss them.

“Is that a real name?” I said. “Quentin Black. That doesn’t sound real. It sounds fake.”

“Real is all subjective, is it not?”

“So it’s not real, then?”

“Depends on what you mean.”

“Is it your legal name?”

“Again, depends on what you mean.”

“I mean, could you look it up in a database and actually get a hit somewhere?”

“How would I know that?” he said, making an innocent gesture with his hands, again within the limits of the metal cuffs.

Realizing I wasn’t going to get any more from him on that line of questioning, I changed direction. “What does the ‘R’ stand for?” I said.

“Rayne.”

“Quentin Rayne Black?” I repeated back to him, still not hiding my disbelief.

“Would you believe me if I said my parents had a sense of whimsy?” he asked me.

“No,” I said.

“Would you believe that I do, then?”

I snorted a laugh, in spite of myself. I heard it echoed through the earpiece, although I heard a few curses coming from that direction, too.

I shook my head at the suspect himself, but less in a “no” that time.

“Yes,” I conceded finally. “So it is a made-up name, then?”

The man calling himself Quentin Black only returned my smile. His eyes once again looked shrewd, less thoughtful and more openly calculating.

Even so, his weird comment about “listening” came back to me.

Truthfully, he was looking at me as if he were listening very hard.

The thought made me slightly nervous.

Especially since I’d been doing the same to him from inside the observation booth.

Seeing the intelligence there, I found myself regrouping mentally as the silence stretched, reminding myself who and what I was dealing with. The fact that he’d nearly made me forget that in our back and forth of the last few moments was unnerving on its own.

I found myself looking him over deliberately, for the second time since I’d left the glass-enclosed booth behind the one-way mirror. I fought to reconcile his physical presence with the words I’d heard come out of that well-formed mouth.  The two things, his physicality and his manner of speaking, didn’t really fit at all, at least not from my previous experience in these kinds of interviews.

The all-black clothing, the dense, rock-like muscles I could see under that blood-soaked shirt, the expensive leather shoes, the expensive watch, the ethnically-ambiguous but somehow feral-looking face…nothing about him really fit, from his made-up name to his wryly humorous quipping with me.

I found myself staring at that strange, somehow animal-evoking face with its abnormally high cheekbones and almond eyes, and wondered who in the hell this guy really was.

“Where are you from, Quentin?” I asked, voicing at least part of my puzzlement.

He shook his head though, that smile back to playing with the edges of his lips.

“You don’t want to tell me that?” I said.

“No,” he said. “…Clearly, I don’t.”

“What do you do for a living?” I said, trying again. “Do you have a job of some kind, Quentin? Some area of expertise you’d like to share?”

That time, he rolled his eyes openly.

Before I could respond to his obvious disdain, he let out an audible and impatient sigh.

“You’re not going to resort to shrink games on me now, are you, doc?” he said, giving me another of those more penetrating stares. “…Not so soon in our new friendship? I haven’t intimidated you already, have I?” At my silence, his voice grew bored. “The constant repetition of my given name. The clinical yet polite peppering of questions in an attempt to quietly undermine my sense of autonomy here…”

“Fine.” I held up both of my palms in a gesture of surrender. “What do you want to talk about, Mr. Black? Do you want to tell me what you were doing at the Palace of Fine Arts earlier this morning?”

“Not here,” he said cryptically, smiling at me again.

I frowned, glancing around the gunmetal gray room.

“Somewhere else, then?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “For all of your questions, doc. Including the ones I wouldn’t answer before.”

I gave him another puzzled smile. “I hate to tell you, Mr. Black, but you’re not likely to be anyplace that is significantly different from this room anytime soon. Not in terms of a non-institutional setting…if that’s what you’re driving at.”

“It must certainly appear that way to you, yes,” he said, raising his chained wrists for emphasis and glancing around the room with those gold eyes. “…But perhaps you are mistaken in that, doc. Perhaps you’ll find that we can speak in a much more comfortable setting, just the two of us…and in not too long a time.”

I narrowed my gaze at him.

It didn’t sound like a threat, at least not coming from him. But the words themselves could definitely have been construed as one.

I gave him a wry smile. “You think so, huh?”

I do, a voice said clearly in my mind. I do think so, doc.

I jumped, violently.

Truthfully, I almost lost my balance in the chair.

“Miri?” Nick asked in my ear. “Miri? Are you okay?”

For a long-feeling few seconds I only stared at Black, breathing harder.

I could feel as much as see him watching me react. He smiled, lifting the bare corners of that sculpted mouth. Then he shrugged, his expression smoothing.

“Perhaps you’ll accept a raincheck on that particular discussion, doc?” he said. “…After I’ve finished my business here?”

It unnerved me, hearing him use the nickname yet again. I knew it wasn’t exactly an original thing to call someone in my line of work, but it still struck me as deliberate.

I fought the other thing out of my mind, sure I must have imagined it.

Even so, the smile on my face grew strained.

“Okay,” I said. “You pick the topic, then. For today I mean…pre-raincheck.”

Quentin Black smiled, leaning back deliberately in the bolted, metal chair.

“No,” he said, after assessing me again with those strangely animal eyes. “No, I think we’re done for now, doc. It was my very great pleasure to meet you, however.”

I pursed my lips. “You don’t want to talk to me anymore?” I said.

I want to talk to you so badly I can fucking taste it, that same voice said in my mind, making me jump again, but less violently that time. My breath stopped, locking in my chest as the voice rose even more clearly. But not here, doc. Not here. Patience. And believe me when I say I am speaking to myself in this, even more than I am to you…

I could only sit there, breathing, staring at him.

Those gold eyes never wavered.

When I didn’t move after a few more seconds, or speak, he smiled.

Do they know what you are, doc? Does that handsome cop in the next room have any idea why it is that you are so very, very good at your job? Or how you managed to keep him alive that time in Afghanistan…?

My chest clenched more.

It hurt now, like a fist had reached inside me, squeezing my heart.

The voice fell silent.

The man in front of me looked at me, his expression close to expectant. Then he gazed pointedly down at my engagement ring.

Does anyone know about you, doc? Anyone at all?

My throat closed as he raised his eyes back to mine.

Those gold flecked irises studied my face, watching my reaction.

I can’t hear you, the voice said next, flickering with a tinge of frustration. I cannot hear you at all…but I know from your face that you hear me, doc. That shield of yours is damned strong. I confess, it’s positively turning me on at this point…but it also makes me very curious. Were you ever ranked, sister? If so, I would love to know at what level…

Another smile ghosted his lips, even as a curl of heat slid through my lower abdomen, one that didn’t feel like it originated from me, at least not entirely.

It made my face flush hot, even as my thighs clenched together in reflex.

I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours… the voice said, softer.

My throat tightened, choking me with a caught swallow.

Still, he didn’t say anything aloud.

We’ll talk more later, doc, I heard in my mind, softer still. I have so many, many questions. So many things I’d like to discuss. But I really do not wish to do any of that here…not with them watching us. They are wondering at this silence as it is. You must try to speak to me again, doc, before your handsome cop decides there is a problem. Before he and his meat-headed partner make an issue of it…

I blinked again, my heart now slamming against my ribs.

But he wasn’t looking at me now.

As I watched, Quentin Rayne Black lapsed back into the bored, stone-faced man I’d glimpsed through the window before I’d entered the room.

I’d finally managed to clear my throat.

Clenching my hands together in my lap, conscious of how clammy they felt, I kept my voice carefully polite.

“Do you want to tell me about the body in the park, Mr. Black?” I said.

Nothing. Silence.

“Mr. Black?” I said, hearing the slight tremble in my voice. “Did you kill that woman? Did you pose her in that wedding dress?”

He didn’t look up from where he stared down between his cuffed hands.

I tried again, asking the same thing a few different ways.

But nothing I said in those next fifteen or so minutes appeared to reach him. I tried being friendly, annoying, disdainful, mocking. I belittled his intellect…even threw out a few offers to deal, along with some not-so-veiled threats. Nothing.

I got nothing.

In fact, I doubt I penetrated the veneer of that thoughtful, somehow puzzle-solving stare he aimed at the empty surface of the metal table.

Clearly, I’d been dismissed.

 


 

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Cover Reveal: Death to the Undead by Pembroke Sinclair

Death to the Undead
Pembroke Sinclair
(Life After the Undead, #2)
Publication date: February 16th 2016
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult, Zombies

The battle that began in Life After the Undead continues.

Zombies changed her life completely…

Tough teenager Krista escaped to the safety of Florida after her parents were killed by the zombie horde. She united with General Liet, a distant cousin, and moved with him to North Platte to help build a wall to keep the zombies in the West. Krista fell in love with Quinn, a survivor and fighter from the zombie-infested wildlands of the West, and together they freed the garrison at North Platte from the power-hungry Liet.

But zombies aren’t the only enemy they have to face…

Now, North Platte is free, but Liet was not the only one using the zombie apocalypse to control their people. Florida is ruled by five ruthless Families, who use intimidation and the threat of the zombie horde to coerce their populace. Krista and Quinn hatch a desperate plan to run guns into the state and help the people revolt. Krista and Quinn, labeled as rebels run for their lives when the Families attack North Platte. The Families want them captured, the zombies want to eat them, and other survivors want them dead. Caught in between powerful forces, they must survive long enough to devise a new plan and put it into action, all while trying to solidify their new relationship and trying not to self-destruct in the meantime.

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Author Bio:

Pembroke Sinclair is a literary jack of all trades, playing her hand at multiple genres. She has written an eclectic mix of fiction ranging from horror to sci-fi and even some westerns. Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming–the home of 56 nationalities–it is no wonder Pembroke ended up so creatively diverse. Her fascination with the notions of good and evil, demons and angels, and how the lines blur have inspired her writing. Pembroke lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband, two spirited boys, a black lab named Ryder, and a rescue kitty named Alia, who happens to be the sweetest, most adorable kitty in the world! She cannot say no to dessert, orange soda, or cinnamon. She loves rats and tatts and rock and roll and wants to be an alien queen when she grows up.

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