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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Not the Hot Chick by N. Raines

Not the Hot Chick: Complete Boxed Set
N. Raines
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Contains Not the Hot Chick, Not the Stand In, Not the Friend with Benefits and Not the Placeholder

No one would call curvy Layla Messner hot. Sweet and smart, yes, but not hot. All that changes when she meets sexy bartender Cam. This bundle contains all four of parts of the Not the Hot Chick serial featuring a BBW heroine with heart and a hero with plenty of substance beneath his seductive style. Contains hot hook-ups, bitchy neighbors, ice skating blunders and—just possibly—love to last a lifetime.

This boxed set contains the complete Not the Hot Chick series.

Sign up for Nona Raines’s newsletter and get the first book (Not the Hot Chick) in the series for free!

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Not the Hot Chick (Book 1 in the Not the Hot Chick series) Blurb:

Can she be the hot chick for just one night?

No one would call curvy Layla Messner hot. Sweet and smart, yes, but not hot. She doesn’t stand a chance with Cam, the sexy bartender with the teasing grin—especially since her neighbor Jessi has him dead in her sights. Jessi, who is every man’s centerfold fantasy. All Layla has to look forward to is another night with her trusty vibrator.

But when his hook up with Jessi tanks, Cam looks to Layla. He wants her. Here’s her chance to take what she wants and finally be the object of desire—the Hot Chick. If she says no, she may regret it forever. If she says yes, one night may not be enough.

Please note this is a serialized romance. Not the Hot Chick is Book 1 in the series.

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EXCERPT FROM BOOK 1:

Jessi Wallace eyed the cute bartender’s butt the way a hungry cat might eye an unsuspecting bird. She actually licked her lips. “I am so going to do him.”

Layla Messner held back a sigh, took another sip of her lemon-drop martini, and asked herself for the sixth time that night, Why am I here, again?

She should have known better than to accept Jessi’s invitation to go out tonight. They weren’t really friends, just across-the-hall neighbors in the same apartment complex that housed many of the Buff State students here in Buffalo, New York. She and Jessi would nod and smile when they passed each other, occasionally stop and chat, but they’d never partied together. So it had been quite the surprise when Jessi tapped on her door two hours ago with a smile and an invitation: “Feel like cutting loose tonight?”

Silly Layla, thinking Jessi was trying to be friendly. More likely, she just wanted a wingman—or wingwoman in this case—and had no one else to step out with.

Jessi leaned over the bar provocatively in her low-cut top, calling to the bartender and pointing to her empty glass. “Can I have another down here?”

Oh, God, she was actually batting her eyelashes. And the way she was leaning to flash her cleavage, it was a wonder her boobs didn’t fall right out onto the bar.

Layla glanced down at her own chest, pulling back her shoulders. Her boobs weren’t so bad, even if they weren’t shown off as blatantly as Jessi’s. Layla knew she had nothing to be ashamed of in that department. If anything, she’d been generously blessed.

The problem was, she was a little too blessed in other areas as well. “Curvy” would be a kind description. “Chubby” might be more to the point.

Jessi, on the other hand, had a body that was every guy’s wet dream. She had big breasts and a tiny little waist that curved out to a rounded pair of hips. The tight, short skirt she wore had every guy in the room craning his neck for a second look at her ass.

The place was pretty quiet for a Friday night. But then again, it was the weekend before spring break, and much of the college-age crowd that usually frequented the Shamrock had already left town. Layla had a four-hour drive to get to her parents’ house and was wiped from spending the day with a class of hyper first graders. Morning would be soon enough to make the trip home.

The bartender ambled down their way and gave them both a smile. “Ready for another, ladies?”

Layla’s heart warmed at the way he included her in the offer. He didn’t just ignore her, the way some guys did, to focus on her prettier companion.

Jessi smirked and tapped the rim of her glass. “I’d like another Hard Fast Screw please.” She practically purred the order for the Shamrock’s variation of a screwdriver.

“You got it.” He directed his gaze at Layla, and her heart gave a little flip. It was too dark in the bar to tell what color his eyes were, but she knew they were beautiful. Just like the rest of him. Dark hair, a buff body, and a gorgeous face. High cheekbones, a straight nose, chiseled lips. Those lips moved, but Layla was too mesmerized by his looks to pay any attention to what he was saying.

She blinked. “Uh, excuse me?”

“He asked if you want another drink.” Jessi’s cutesy moves were forgotten as she gave Layla the death stare. Don’t poach on my territory.

As if. Still, a girl could dream, couldn’t she?

Is the door locked-

 

Author Bio:

N. Raines (who also writes as Nona Raines) is a former librarian who lives in upstate New York with her many pets. She’s currently working on her next novel between walking the dog and shooing the cats off the laptop. Her erotic romances are published with The Wild Rose Press and Loose Id. Her transgender romance His Kind of Woman was nominated for the 2014 DABWAHA sponsored by the Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books review blogs. Her most recent work is the romance novella Write to Me and the transgender romance Her Kind of Man.

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Cover Reveal: Damage Me by Shana Vanterpool

Damage Me
Shana Vanterpool
(Crystal Gulf #2)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

*** AUTHOR’S NOTE and CONTENT WARNING: This story contains triggers for rape victims and soldiers. I did my best to remain respectful to the healing process for both. Hillary’s feelings are hers alone and ONLY represent how she feels about her attack. Dylan’s emotions about his time at war are his ALONE. You are all strong and beautiful, and you will soar again! ***

A broken soldier …

Dylan Meyer lived his life fast and hard, doing anything to keep his emotions masked. In Crystal Gulf, Texas, women, drugs, and alcohol are in abundance. After all, it’s a college town. But eventually, his lifestyle caught up to him. The birth of his daughter, Aubrey, forced him to grow up and take responsibility for his actions. He let his vices go, cleaned up his act, and allowed himself to fall for Harley Evans.

But Dylan is a liar.

He lied to himself. To Harley. To his best friend, Bach. And then he lied himself right into a U.S. Army uniform. When he went to war, he left Harley with his best friend in hopes that he’d look out for her while he was deployed. Not in his darkest nightmares did he think Bach and Harley would fall in love.

A fallen angel …

Hillary Hayes is an eighteen-year-old sophomore in college who understands the importance of rules. She’s followed them her entire life. She gets perfect grades, avoids dating, and won’t stray from the future her mother mapped out. On the outside, she’s perfect. Inside, she’s drowning.

That carefully crafted future disappears when she downs a beer at a party. What’s left of that night is the wreckage of the girl she used to be.

Until she meets Dylan. Her brother’s best friend.

When Dylan returns from war, he can’t move past the betrayal. His daughter’s growing up without him. Flashbacks and PTSD from his time in Afghanistan consume him. He loses himself in a dark depression. There is no light in his darkness …until he meets Hillary. His best friend’s little sister is the only good thing among all the bad.

He’s her safe place.

She’s his light.

Can two damaged souls ever find peace, or is the damage too much to overcome?

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Crystal Gulf #1:

25877008

 

Author Bio:

When I walk into a book store I feel at home. When I smell the pages of a brand new book things make sense. When I read I am who I always wanted to be. I read to escape and I write so others can as well. My family, my actress dog Bella, coffee, and a steamy love story are a few of my most precious things. My Sweet Demise is my debut new-adult contemporary romance novel. Keep up to date with future releases: shanavanterpoolauthor.wordpress.com

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Cover Reveal – Working Stiff: Casimir by Blair Babylon

Working Stiff: Casimir
Blair Babylon
(Inheritance Trilogy, #1)
Publication date: May 17th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Here’s the problem: when Rox was hired, she told her smoking-hot boss Cash that she was married, but she’s not. Now, three years later, she’s kind of accidentally living with him, and he’s being a perfect gentleman, dang it.

Everybody in the office said that Cash was a heartbreaker, that he’d bump her and dump her, so Rox decided not to become a statistic. She went out and bought herself some rings of the finest cubic zirconia so that she could work with Cash, who was several inches over six feet tall, emerald-eyed, ripped, gorgeous, his tailored suit clinging to his athletic body, sporting a British accent, and loaded.

It had seemed like such a good plan at the time.

But now, three years later, she and Cash have become friends. They travel together for work often, and they’re the best of buddies.When Rox gets thrown out of her apartment, Cash insists that she come live with him until they can find her a place because that’s what friends do.

Now, even though everyone insists that Cash never goes after married women, something about him has changed. There are little touches, little slips, and Rox is more and more tempted to tell hunky, gorgeous Cash that she never was married.

And then he’ll take her and break her, and then he’ll walk away, and then she’ll lose her job, and she still hasn’t found a place to live.

And yet, every time her looks at her with mischief in his dark green eyes, every time they’re teasing and it somehow turns into tickling, every time she swats at him and somehow ends up in his arms, she wants so much to risk everything.

What’s a working stiff to do when she falls in love with her friend, the boss?

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Author Bio:

Blair Babylon often releases ebooks at a special release-day price of 99c.

To never miss a sale, CLICK HERE: http://smarturl.it/Babylon-Email

Blair Babylon is the nom de plume of an award-winning, USA Today-bestselling author who used to publish literary fiction. Because professional reviews of her other fiction usually included the caveat that there was too much deviant sex and too much interesting plot, she decided to abandon all literary pretensions, let her freak flag fly, and write hot, sexy, erotic romance, plus wild, suspenseful thrillers, science fiction, and urban fantasy using the super-secret pen name Blair C. Babylon.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: It’s Always Complicated by Julia Kent

It’s Always Complicated
Julia Kent
Publication date: April 27th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

Take two men, one woman, three children. Stir in one best friend and her fiancé doctor. Whisk one best friend’s niece, her two rock star boyfriends, and add a grizzled old octogenarian diner owner with a naughty mouth and her eighty-something boyfriend who loves every minute of her.

Put them all in a campground in northern Maine where the owners’ daughter has two special men of her own. Bake for 400 pages.

It’s Always Complicated is the sprawling saga of how Laura, Mike and Dylan (Her Billionaires) and Josie and Alex (It’s Complicated) have the wedding of a lifetime at Escape Shores Campground (the Obedient series) while Darla, Trevor and Joe (the Random series) make an appearance with a cast of characters that includes cameos from the Warlock Waitress and maybe…just maybe…Mavis the Chicken.

This book combines three of Julia Kent’s series in a madcap spectacle that yields one universal truth: love is a journey and not a destination, but people will drive you crazy along the way.

Enjoy the ride.

Read the series in order:

Her Billionaires (New York Times bestseller)

It’s Complicated

Completely Complicated

It’s Always Complicated

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

A small crowd of men wearing gun holsters ran past Josie and Alex, followed by three uniformed TSA agents.

“I wonder what that’s about?” Alex marveled, his eyes tracking the fracas. He and Josie had come to the Portland, Maine airport to pick up her mother, Marlene, and Aunt Cathy, Uncle Mike and her new Uncle Calvin. All the Ohio relatives were here for her and Alex’s wedding.

A cold wave of dread washed over her. They were running toward the baggage claim for the airline her entire family was on.

“I’ll bet it’s my mother,” she groaned, leaning against him for support. His strong arm wrapped around her shoulders and gave her the comfort she needed. Too bad he couldn’t give her a second backbone made of steel.

If he could, she knew, he would. The thought made her smile.

“I’m sure it’s nothing,” he said, giving her a squeeze. She looked up at him. Way up, given the enormous height difference between the two of them. His warm, brown eyes met hers and for an instant, she wondered if he might be right. That eternally positive outlook he had was a bit infectious.

Maybe she needed to stop assuming the worst of every situation.

A rotund security guard huffed and puffed, running past them, holding what looked like a spare uniform. He was talking into a walkie-talkie.

“Naked?” Huff huff. “She’s naked? What size?” Huff huff.

Alex’s kind eyes filled with alarm. It was both charming and horrifying. Josie couldn’t quite decide which impression she enjoyed more. There was a kind of schadenfreude in realizing she was right. His idealism was sweet, but sometimes she needed him to be more of a realist.

And Marlene served up an entire buffet of realism.

“Mile High Club again?” the guard asked, pausing to catch his breath. Josie watched him with a morbid fascination.

“You don’t really think it’s your mom in there, Josie,” Alex said. He caressed her shoulder absent-mindedly, watching the guard. “I mean—”

“Two men in one bathroom with a naked woman?” the guard barked into his walkie-talkie, eyebrows hitting the brim of his hat.

Josie snorted, the sense of dread spreading.

“How could it be anyone else?”

“That sounds more like something Darla would do,” Alex said. “You sure she’s still in Boston and not on this flight?”

Just as Josie was about to reply, the commotion got louder.

“MARLENE!” Josie heard the sense of outrage in her Aunt Cathy’s voice. The airport was small, but not that small. Cathy’s voice could carry. “WHAT IN THE HELL HAPPENED TO YOUR CLOTHES?”

 

Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge, and new adult books that push contemporary boundaries. From billionaires to BBWs to rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every book she writes, but unlike Trevor from Random Acts of Crazy, she has never kissed a chicken.

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LIFT 4 Autism

I am honored to be a part of spreading the word about this great cause.  Please consider a donation to LIFT 4 Autism.

 

 

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lift4autism.com

1 in every 68 children is diagnosed with Autism. 1 in every 42 Boys

The LIFT Campaign is a charitable initiative rallying the romance reading community around Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) families in April, Autism Awareness month. Experts estimate that many ASD families spend up to $60,000 out of pocket each year on medical and therapy expenses. This year we’re raising funds to assist families struggling to manage these staggering costs. All profits go to the family scholarship program of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

The online auction is LIVE! There are too many items from authors and bloggers up for bid to list here, but we have full signed collections from some of your favorite bestselling authors. We have non-book items like Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon Echo, VIP Tickets to the Mile High Denver author signing, and so many other goodies! So start bidding while doing good!

BID HERE NOW!

(Bidding closes Friday, 4/29/16!)

Even if you don’t want to bid, you can still make a tax-deductible donation to the scholarship program through our efforts HERE!

Don’t miss a thing! Join the LIFT 2016 Facebook Group for bidding alerts and campaign information.

Wanna stylishly support the LIFT Campaign? Buy your LIFT T-shirt before it’s too late!

All profits benefit TACA!

LIFT 2016 Shirt collage

 

A special thank you from Lisa Ackerman,

Founder & Executive Director of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

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Release Blitz: Mr. Perfect by J. A. Huss

Mr. Perfect
J.A. Huss
Publication date: April 27th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance

Wanting the perfect man doesn’t make me crazy. I just know what I like.

A powerful billionaire in a suit wasn’t even my first choice. Mcallister Stonewall was never on my radar, I didn’t even know he existed.

But I do now.

His hands are all over me at work. The heat of his chest pressing against my bare back as he bends me over the desk is the only thing on my mind.

He is my most forbidden desires unleashed. He is my new secret obsession. He is my Mr. Perfect.

Until the moment I realize… There’s no such thing as perfect.

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teaser

EXCERPT:

“We own most of the land in the Tech Center. My father bought up the land thirty years ago before any of this was here. And we lease it out.”

Jesus. What kind of money is that? I can’t even begin to understand it.

“Anyway,” Mac says, standing. “I’m waiting in here for a reason.”

“Is that right?” I stand up too, but my heart beats a little faster when I take him in. He’s wearing a dark gray suit today, a blue shirt that is so light it’s barely a color, and another brilliant cerulean-blue tie that makes his matching eyes shine as they stare into mine.

I don’t know why, but I step backwards. His full attention on me suddenly feels more like a force than a look. He steps forward, hands reaching for me. I bump against the wall, no escape, and then he fists the front of my blouse and rips it open, revealing my silk cami.

My mouth opens in surprise.

He rips the cami apart too. And then, with one forceful whoosh, both garments are lying in a puddle of fabric on the floor.

“What are you doing?” I yell.

The intense stare turns to a boyish smile. “I’d like you topless for breakfast. And I get to call the shots for our dates.”

“Why do I even bother with you? Just why?” I refuse to cross my arms and cover my tits. Fuck him. Just fuck him. “Every time I start to think you’re not a pig, you go and do something like this.”

“It’s fun, right?” His smile never cracks.

“No,” I say. “It’s humiliating.”

“Your tits are nice, Ellie. You should not be ashamed of them.”

“I’m not ashamed of them—”

“Good. Because I’d like to stare at them while we have coffee and discuss our date tonight.”

A knock comes from Mac’s office and I might have a panic attack that someone will come in and find me bare like this.

“Hold that thought,” Mac says, leaning down to kiss my lips. “Breakfast is here. Sit,” he says, pushing on my shoulders until I slump into the window seat again. “I’ll be right back.”

And then he enters his office, pulling our connecting door closed.

I listen to the conversation in there as I look down at my clothes. What the hell was he thinking? The cami is dust. Ripped straight down the middle. At least the silk button-up shirt is only missing all the buttons. I can probably tie it around my waist to make it out to the parking lot, but—

There’s a jingle of a cart and plates. We have… room service? What kind of company has room service?

I guess I’m not all that surprised they have it up here. We have several restaurants on campus. The Atrium has a cafeteria. Maybe this came from the cafeteria?

Mac is laughing on the other side of the door, then I hear a polite thank you just before the sound of a closing door.

The connecting door swings open again and Mac is there, a wide grin on his face. “I hope you like pancakes.”

“This is not happening.”

“Oh, this is happening, Miss Hatcher. You are sitting here.” He points to the middle of the window seat as he pushes the cart towards me.

“I have no clothes, Mac. You ripped my cami. I’m going to have to tie that over-shirt on and go home to change. In fact,” I say, reaching down to get my blouse and pull myself together, “I’m not coming back. I’m done. Just when I think you’re a human, you act like an ape.”

“Would you just relax, Ellie?” He rips the shirt from my hands, balls it up, and then tosses it in the air, where it arcs perfectly and sails into the new trashcan that matches the desk. “Three points,” he says.

“It’s like you live in your own world or something. I think it’s funny that you accused me of living in some delusional fantasy, but you, Mr. Stonewall, you’re a raving lunatic who thinks the world is his asylum.”

“I’m going to take that as a compliment. Now sit. I’ve got it all under control.”

EXTRA!!

COVER REVEAL – MR. AWESOME:

300ROMANTIC_ebook

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Author Bio:

JA Huss is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who makes you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.

You can chat with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorJAHuss), Twitter (@jahuss), and her kick-ass romance blog, New Adult Addiction (www.newadultaddiction.com).

If you’re interested in getting your hands on an advanced release copy of her upcoming books, sneak peek teasers, or information on her upcoming personal appearances, you can join her newsletter list (http://eepurl.com/JVhAr) and get those details delivered right to your inbox.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway ~ Clarity 5: Loving Liam by Loretta Lost

Clarity 5: Loving Liam
Loretta Lost
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense

Happily ever after isn’t always easy…

Helen and Liam are engaged to be married and their relationship is stronger than ever. But when Helen encourages the young doctor to mend fences with his estranged family before the wedding, she unintentionally opens a dangerous can of worms.

A devastating secret from Liam’s past emerges, threatening to tear him apart. The horrors of his family skeletons make him feel that it is a huge mistake to try to start a new family with Helen. Unable to cope, he pushes everyone away, including his fiancée and even his best friend Owen.

Now Helen must do all she can to save the man who has saved her so many times. Liam has put himself on the line to help her heal in the past, and she hopes to do the same—if she can even get close enough to try…

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READ THE PROLOGUE:

Liam Larson, 1989

I am standing on the side of the road and holding a newborn infant.

She is looking up at me with curiosity on her face, and I can already tell she’s going to be my best friend. We’re going to do everything together, especially coloring and making snow angels. She’s really tiny right now, but I’m sure that when she’s a little bigger she’ll love playing catch with me. I have a ball, but I don’t have anyone to play with.

First, I need to know her name.

“What are we going to call her, Mama?”

Turning to the side, I look at my mother who is sitting in the driver’s seat of the car and crying softly. I think she’s crying because it hurt a lot to take the baby out of her stomach. There is blood staining her dress, and she is clutching her midsection as her shoulders shake with sobs. She barely makes any sound, but she is shaking so hard that the car is trembling beneath her.

I thought she needed to go to the hospital, but she said no.

The baby in my arms is bloody and red. Maybe that’s why Mama never wanted to touch her. When she came out, I tried to wipe most of the gooey stuff off her before wrapping her up in Mama’s green sweater. Once I got it all off her face, I was able to see that she’s perfect. She has clear blue eyes and chubby little fingers. Her bellybutton was funny. I asked Mama what to do about the floppy string, but she wouldn’t help me.

“Liam,” my mother says from the car, and she is crying so much that she can hardly breathe. “Leave her there. Hurry! Before someone drives by.”

I look around in confusion. It’s early morning, and there aren’t many other cars on the road. Why would Mama want me to leave the baby here? It’s winter and there is a thin layer of snow on the ground. I shift the baby in my arms, because they are growing tired. She might be tiny, but I’m not that big and strong yet and it’s hard to hold her.

“Please, Liam,” my mother says again, placing her face in her hands as though she cannot look at me. “Put the baby down and come back into the car.”

“I don’t want to. She’ll be cold.”

My mother wipes her face on her sleeve, trying to remove some of the tears and clean her runny nose. She sits up a little straighter and grasps the steering wheel tightly. “Liam, if you don’t get your ass back here this instant I’ll tell your father that you disobeyed me. He’ll give you a good beating!”

I flinch at this prospect, and hug the baby tighter against my chest. I don’t want Papa to hit me anymore. He’s been away for a little while, but I know he’ll be back soon, and he’ll start hurting me again.

“For god’s sake, Liam,” my mother whispers desperately. “If you don’t do as I say, your father will kill me. He’s going to strangle me to death, and who knows what he’ll do to the baby. He hates little girls.”

She’s right. I have seen my father choke my mother before, and he always says mean things about girls. I begin to grow very afraid. Will he treat the baby in my arms even worse than he treats me? If putting her down means she won’t get punched or kicked by Papa, is that better? Somehow, she feels glued to my chest, and I don’t want to let her go; not for anything.

“Please,” my mother says frantically as she waves me over with her hand. “Please just leave the baby there.”

“But… but she’ll get hurt. If cars drive by, they could hit her.”

“We’ll come back for her, soon. I promise. I just need to go home. I’m in a lot of pain.”

I look down at the ground fearfully. “Are you sure, Mama?”

“Leave her, Liam!”

I quickly move to do as she says, and place the baby down in the snow on the side of the road. The little girl looks at me in confusion as I stand up, and her tiny arms move a little, reaching out for me. I can tell she already misses the warmth of being held; she misses me. My heart is breaking. This feels wrong.

“Quickly, Liam!” my mother shouts.

Ripping my own coat off my shoulders, I lay it over the baby as an extra layer of protection. She makes a cooing sound as she looks up at me, and I feel tears falling from my eyes onto her cheeks. “I love you,” I tell her, bending down to place a kiss on her forehead. “I’m sorry. We’ll come back for you, little sister. Mama promised.” I have a terrible feeling, but I’m too afraid to go against my mother, so I run back to the car. I can hear the baby start to cry, and my insides ache.

I have barely jumped into the vehicle before my mom starts driving away. I didn’t even get a chance to close my car door, but it slams shut with the force of the car’s acceleration. My mother is sobbing and the car is veering dangerously as she drives away at breakneck speeds.

“Mama?” I ask her nervously. “Are we gonna go back for her soon?”

“Who?” my mother asks brokenly.

“The baby.”

“What baby?” Tears pour down my mother’s face as she shakes her head violently. “There is no baby. There never was a baby.”

Her words confuse me, and I look behind the car to try to see where I laid the infant down on the side of the road. I can still hear her cries echoing in my ears. I can still see her sweet face looking up at me. “Mama, we have to go back,” I say as panic begins to fill my chest. “I left the baby there and it’s so cold. She doesn’t even have clothes yet. Can we go back now?”

“There is no baby,” my mother says quietly, repeating the words to herself over and over. “There is no baby.”

I am terrified. There’s something wrong with my mother and I don’t know what to do. What’s going to happen now? Is my little sister going to be okay? I am her big brother. I was supposed to protect her.

What have I done?

 

When Book Research Gets Personal… and Scary

By Loretta Lost

 

In the fifth book of my Clarity series, a young couple is engaged to be married and hoping to start a family together. Anxieties run high over whether they will have a healthy baby, and the bride, having been born blind, wants to have a DNA test.

I have done intensive research for many of my books in the past, but I must admit that this time, it made me a little scared and uncomfortable. I ordered a DNA kit off the internet for about $200 and it arrived within a few days.  I was worried about all the information I might discover, and if I’d be better off not knowing—but I tried to put my fears aside and do it for the sake of the book. I procrastinated for a little while, but the onset of a friend’s health issues made me realize that I wanted to know as much as possible, as soon as possible.

It ended up taking closer to twelve weeks to get the results, but they came just in time for me to use the experience in writing Clarity 5: Loving Liam. Although I had already written many of the scenes concerning the DNA testing, I went back and edited them with certain details of the experience—both emotional and factual. Regarding how the information pertained to my own health, I really did learn things I had not expected.

First of all, I discovered that I have a high risk of developing Celiac disease. This didn’t bother me very much, because I have never experienced digestive difficulties.  I already eat a mostly gluten-free diet since my ex-boyfriend and my mother must eat low-carb, and for some reason, I tend to adopt the eating habits of those around me. If I ever do get a carb craving, I usually only want rice, and I think that having Celiac wouldn’t really change my life. It will probably never be a concern.

The second discovery was much more alarming, and one that I wasn’t expecting: I seem to have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. I have always imagined writing books long into my old age, and the idea that I could lose my ability to do so earlier than expected makes me very afraid. No one in my family has any kind of dementia, so this was a huge surprise to me. Of course, it is still only a risk, and it seems like a healthy heart, regular exercise, and strong social connections can protect against developing Alzheimer’s. Although it’s scary, I am grateful to discover this now, at age 28, when I can still try to improve my lifestyle and remove some of the environmental risk factors.

There was a little bit of good news in all this as well. For years I have suffered from cysts in my ovaries, and recently I’ve had cysts in my breasts. They have been benign, but I do have a family history of breast cancer and I often worry that the pain from the cysts could be an indicator of something more serious. However, I was pleased to see that my DNA does not hold an increased risk for breast or ovarian cancer. Of course, I understand that I could still acquire either, and I shouldn’t assume that these organs will be completely healthy without regular checkups and healthy living.

I’m just happy that I don’t have to assume the worst, and that I won’t need to cut off my breasts as a preventative measure. I rather like my breasts.

I also learned that I am not a carrier of any diseases that could be life-threatening to my future children, which was very reassuring, but I am not taking any of these results at face value. Environmental factors can be just as life-threatening; it doesn’t matter how perfect your DNA is, you can still crash your car if you don’t drive safely.

Overall, I gained a massive amount of material for my story from this one little test I did on myself. It is extremely personal, which allows me to imagine how the characters would feel in similar situations. I think the only way to write is to allow yourself to be vulnerable, and hurt, and to feel—and then to pour those feelings on the page.

When characters are really afraid, and concerned about their own mortality and futures, that is when they are most real and we can connect with them best.

 

 

Author Bio:

Loretta Lost is a USA Today bestselling author who writes stories where very bad things happen to good people. Mystery, tragedy, and danger complicate her unique romances between characters who will do anything to protect each other.

In the two days of summer that she gets in Canada, she grows a garden of the hottest peppers in the world. She loves using these peppers to torture her guests and challenge their manhood. This could be why she isn’t married.

Subscribe to Loretta’s mailing list for updates: www.eepurl.com/O0WTL

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Painting Sky by Rita Branches

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Painting Sky ebook

Book details:
Painting Sky by Rita Branches
Publication date: April 25th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Synopsis:

Nobody ever said life was easy…

People pleaser, Jane Skylar wants nothing more than to earn her art degree, start her life, and bask in the bliss of living with her boyfriend.

But things don’t always go as planned…

Struggling with her creative side, Jane finds herself in turmoil, often confiding in her roommate – another, more talented art student, Keith Hale. Keith just so happens to be her boyfriend’s older, brooding brother. After a devastating breakup, Jane turns to Keith for comfort. But when the lines blur between roommate and lover, Jane’s life becomes more complicated than ever before.

When Keith’s past comes back to haunt him, their lives all get turned upside down, forcing the truth to surface. Now Jane must fight for what she wants–even if it hurts everyone she loves.


 

My Review:

 

Wow!  What to say?  Painting Sky is beautiful journey of growing up, feeling out of place and finding home in the most unexpected of places.

 

The story starts with Jane driving away from home with her boyfriend of four years.  She is moving in with her older brother, her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s older brother and starting college.  The four of them have known each other for years, but shortly after moving in, she realizes things aren’t the way they used to be.  She struggles to fit in, her efforts at independence are squashed at every turn by her brother and her boyfriend, but they have lives outside of the house, so why can’t she?  The only one who treats her like an adult is her boyfriend’s brother, Keith, and she hates him.  The rest of the story is Jane’s journey of self-discovery and figuring out that what you once thought you needed isn’t what you needed at all.  Sometimes, what you need is the one thing you never wanted.

 

The Good:  A wonderful enemies to lovers, coming of age romance.  A heroine who comes into her own, is believable and makes mistakes without being over the top.  A hero you can’t help but love.  I sweet HEA that will leave you satisfied.

 

The Not So Good:  The writing starts off a little shaky, but gains momentum and improves by the end.  There is a twist towards the end of the book that was a little clichéd and kind of out of the blue, but it doesn’t distract from the overall message of the book.

 

My recommendation:  A definite add to your TBR and your book collection.  Follow this author.  This is her debut effort, but I see great things to come for her.

 


 

Rita

AUTHOR BIO:

Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she´s not reading) writing emotional stories. Visit: http://ritabranches.wordpress.com/

Author links:
http://www.ritabranches.com/

 


 

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Hope by Grier Cooper

Hope
Grier Cooper
(Indigo Ballet Series, #2)
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Indigo is living the life she’s always imagined at the famed New York School of Ballet. Or is she? Although she hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, her ballet teachers aren’t talking and their silence is confusing.

When Indigo is singled out for a coveted solo she feels her dreams are finally within reach, until she finds out she’s dancing with Felipe Gonzalez, the school’s smolderingly hot rising star. In the days that follow, Indigo questions everything she thought was true and finds herself making surprising choices.

After a fateful piece of paper reveals the truth, Indigo must ask herself the hardest question of all: can she take control of her own future to create the life she wants?

Goodreads / Amazon

Sequel to:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00025]

EXCERPT:

Maggie plunks her bag down, grabbing the spot next to me. “Ten minutes ‘til the fun begins,” she says. She glances around furtively before adding, “Who knows what torture she’ll dish out today. But inquiring minds want to know: will she reach new levels of cattiness or will we be left sorely disappointed?” She grins wickedly as she finishes tying a ribbon on her pointe shoe.

Neither of us fares well when Alexa Damore teaches class. She’s known for her snide comments and keen ability to pick people apart. “I’ll take disappointment over outright humiliation any day,” I counter. “But who knows. Maybe one of these days she’ll be miraculously transformed.”

Maggie arches an eyebrow. “What?” I continue. “It’s not too much to hope for–a little prayer can’t hurt. Pray with me. ” I fold my hands together and duck my head down. Maggie smacks me.I stick my tongue out at her while I finish tying my shoes. I refuse to climb on the negativity train with her. It’s never a good way to start class.

The door to the studio glides open and a sudden hush sweeps through the room, as if the oxygen has been sucked away. Alexa Damore has arrived–but she’s wearing street clothes–and she’s not alone.

Benjamin Stafford, Artistic Director of Manhattan Ballet Theater, also known as the man who holds our future in his hands, stands in the center of the room. From where I stand, the ambient light behind him illuminates the outline of his body, as if he’s a living embodiment of a god. Then again, he is a god in the world of ballet. The silence is deafening as he slowly rotates around, gazing at each of us in turn. He flashes a brilliant smile and it’s all I can barely look at him. He’s even larger in life than he is onstage with broad shoulders, chiseled features, dark, tousled hair, and blazing blue eyes. On any given day he’s something to look at, but the glowing outline thing further illustrates the glaring difference between him and everyone else in the room.

His eyes fall on me and my heart flutters in my ribcage. I immediately stand a little bit taller and suck in my gut. My breath gets shallower and tighter. I close my eyes and force myself to breath normally. Passing out in class is not the way I want to make an impression.

I may not survive this class.

 

Author Bio:

Grier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.

Her work has been praised as “poignant and honest” with “emotional hooks that penetrate deeply.” She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of Build a Ballerina Body and The Daily Book of Photography.

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Release Blitz & Giveaway: Safe With You by Sophie Lira

Safe With You
Sophie Lira
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Olivia Simon is starting over in the Big Easy. Her new job as a yoga instructor means she gets to pursue her passion, while giving her the motivation she needs to get back on track. But she’s scared. Really scared. Scared her abusive ex-boyfriend will find her. Scared of all things that go bump in the night… and day. She knows her ex will have a claim on her future happiness unless she can find her own peace. Which starts with Kyle.

Kyle Avery, a former college baseball player on the brink of going pro, is also starting over. His dream since Little League was shattered when a jealous rival went too far in a pre-season game. After a few surgeries, all Kyle is left with are a few rods in his leg, a rebuilt knee, and no idea who he is without baseball. But when he trades center field for a yoga mat, he finds solace in a way he never imagined. Kyle knows there’s something about Olivia. Something he needs to move forward.

But Olivia loves to run, and it’s too soon for her to be playing house. Olivia and Kyle want to invest in each other, but the secrets they’ve kept take a dangerous turn when Olivia’s past returns with a vengeance. Devastated and helpless, Olivia wonders who she can really trust, and Kyle questions if he was ever able to keep her safe.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“You’re killin’ me, Simon.” I lower the bat and look at the imaginary watch on my wrist. “I don’t have all day.”

She sticks her tongue out at me and pitches a floater. It comes toward me in slow motion with a million arrows begging me to launch it into next year. My mind switches off and instinct takes over. Before I can think, my left heel rises off the sandy dirt and I raise the bat back farther. I crush the ball so hard I almost expect the casing to fly off. The sound of contact reverberates and explodes like a strike of lightning splitting a tree. Olivia’s head arcs with the ball and follows it as it lands about ten feet beyond the right field fence.

“Nice throw!” The swing takes my breath away completely. I almost need to use the bat as a cane for support. A familiar smile flows across my face and the rush comes back as if it never left … the rush of playing and knowing this is what my life was meant for. The hole in my heart starts to close and the missing piece reappears as quickly as it went.

“Kyle!” She runs over to me with the same amount of wide-eyed astonishment I think is all over my face. “That was incredible! Your stance, your follow-through, everything was perfect. For someone who hasn’t played in a few years, you’re pretty awesome.” She sighs and the most beautiful smile stretches across her face.” (Kyle, Chapter Six)

 

Author Bio:

Sophie is represented by Julia Weber & will be publishing her first novel, SAFE WITH YOU, on 04/26/2016, by Swoon Romance

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