Review, Excerpt, and Sweepstakes: King of Bad (Book #1: Super Villain Academy Series) by Kai Strand

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Title: King of Bad Series: Book #1: Super Villain Academy Author: Kai Strand Format: Paperback, 217 pages Published: July 1, 2013 by Whiskey Creek Press ISBN13: 9781611605815

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Synopsis:

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.  He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?

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My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Jeff Mean really enjoys starting fires.  Oh, he doesn’t do it to burn things down or cause harm to anyone – he’s polite like that – but to watch the flames grow and burn out.  On some level, Jeff knows his pyrotechnics are wrong but he just can’t seem to stop himself.  Additionally, he’s never been caught so why give up what he feels compelled to do?

And then, there’s the day fire explodes from his fingertips and he gets caught . . . .

Starting fires is certainly a crime and with being caught, Jeff is sure he is on his way to the pokey.  Turns out, the person who caught him is actually a recruiter for the Super Villain Academy, a place where a young delinquent like Jeff can learn the best possible ways and methods to be bad without getting caught.  Yeah, it sounds like a little slice of Heaven.  Within days of his arrival at SVA, Jeff figures out just what an oddity he really is.  His root power (or powers as he comes to realize) is confusing to his instructors, his willingness to help others is confounding to everyone (he is a villain!), and his crush on Oceanus is completely inappropriate.  It takes work to be an outcast at a school for delinquents but Jeff has certainly found several ways to make it happen.

What is a budding super villain to do??

In Jeff’s case, he continues to be confused by his opposing nature, he continues to piss off his classmates with his insistence on using manners and being nice, and he works with a select few to further develop his considerable abilities.  Oh, and he gets kidnapped.  Balls but it’s hard being a teenager.  The kidnapping turns out to be one of the worst and best things that’s ever happened to Jeff.  Being chained certainly sucks but during his captivity, Jeff is not only able to further develop some really cool superpowers but he is also able to get some answers that have been plaguing him since the whole mess started.  The valiant rescue doesn’t go at all like anyone involved intended or expected but it sure is spectacular and it turns the clandestine world of super heroes and super villains on its collective ass. 

The Bottom Line:  This is my first Kai Strand book and it certainly won’t be my last.  King of Bad is all kinds of fun with heroes, anti-heroes, a wide variety of super powers, secrets and secrets revealed, and just enough action and very light romance to keep everyone happy.  Jeff is such a unique character on so many levels that it’s hard not to find something about him that you like.  He’s a special breed of super that confuses damn-near everyone he encounters.  His weirdness is both entertaining and refreshing.  The entire story is told from Jeff’s POV so I was constantly engaged and willing to go along for the ride as Jeff (and everyone else) worked to figure out a lot of craziness.  From start to finish, I enjoyed this read and will quite willingly be moving on to books two and three in the series.

Excerpt from King of Bad (Book #1: Super Villain Academy Series):

An alarm blasted, startling the occupants of the room into silence. The double doors burst open, slamming against the walls with an alarming crack. A swarm of people, clad in black from head to toe, poured through the door. Blue flames erupted from those on the outer edge of the group. The flames weren’t directed at the kids in the room, but acted more like a battering ram to clear the way.

“Blue flame?” Oceanus whispered.

Jeff stepped between her and the melee. He saw a panicked look on Source’s face and wished the intruders didn’t separate them. Jeff knew Source’s lack of skill left him vulnerable.

Oceanus stepped around Jeff. “What do you think you’re doing?”

With her eyes sparking, Oceanus didn’t look as helpless as Jeff would like to think she was. Regardless, the need to protect her was strong and he again stepped in front of her. Hoping to distract her, he said, “Uh…you’re more experienced than me and you can help me fight if we need to. Stay back.”

Oceanus glared at him.

“Uh…for now.” He nodded to give his feeble statement strength.

“But I want to see.” Oceanus stepped sideways. “I’ve never seen blue fire before, Polar. What is it?”

“I don’t know, but it looks like they have more tricks up their sleeve.”

The tight knot advanced militarily to the center of the room. Then they unfurled like a flower bud, revealing a deadly stamen. A small woman, with ebony skin and violet eyes, stood in the center, seeming seven feet tall with the importance she emanated.

She spoke in a smoky, low voice to a ferret-like kid. “¿Dónde está, el?”

The ferret pointed and she raised her long nailed hands above her head. Nets, conjured from thin air, shot up and sailed across the room landing over her surprised target.

“No!” Jeff yelled. He lunged forward, his hands instantly aflame, but when he tried to shoot his fire it balled back on him, burning his own hands. He blew ice onto his hands to squelch the burn. Seeing the frost gave him a thought. “Oci, water!”

He pointed to the floor and indicated that he wanted it to snake across the room.

Oceanus pulled water from the overhead sprinklers and dropped it onto the floor. Jeff drew a deep, deep breath and breathed across the surface of the water. It iced over, immediately sending half the blue flame people to the floor. Jeff blew again, refreezing the water over their hands and trapping them.

“It won’t last forever, let’s move.” He grabbed Oceanus’ arm and they ran. They were halfway across the room when roots burst through the floor and wrapped around their ankles. They sprawled face first on the floor. Another kid fell, knee first, onto Jeff’s back, knocking the wind out of him. Jeff squirmed around until he sat up and grew a small controlled fire in his palm. He showered sparks onto the roots that had snaked up around his calves. The roots shrank away from the fire, loosening their hold and Jeff tore free of their viney grip. He did the same for Oceanus and they scrambled to their feet again.

The intruders hefted their squirming captive toward the door.

Jeff anchored his feet firmly on the ground and gathered all the gravity he could feel around him. As quickly as he could, he bound the feet of those carrying the hostage.

“See if water will work on that blue fire, Oci. Before they get to us.”

Oceanus swung around and saw four of the blue flames approaching. She pulled water from the drinking fountains and doused the flames. But instead of putting it out it seemed to increase it. “No good. I think it’s feeding on it!”

Jeff felt light headed from having to split the gravity in so many directions. He imagined his feet were buried in the ground, giving him a deeper contact with the source, and his head cleared a bit.

“Can you smother it somehow?” Jeff yelled.

“No, I don’t have anything. And the others are getting free.

Sure enough the blue flamers who’d been temporarily frozen were up and re-igniting their fire.

One of the intruders with the blue fire yelled, “¡Detenganlo!” and pointed toward Jeff.

Teachers had joined the fight. In the midst of pelting milk cartons, lightning strikes, and lashing ropes, Jeff was struck by one strange fact. His fellow students seemed to be fighting for the sake of fighting. No one appeared intent on retrieving the hostage. As a matter of fact, Jeff watched a kid blast one of the captors and turn away from the hostage.

Jeff roared. He had to get over there, but if he moved, he’d release the gravitational hold he had on the captors. Experimentally, he slid a foot forward without lifting it from the ground. He felt the hold weaken, but it didn’t break. Concentrating all his efforts on maintaining control, Jeff slid his feet across the floor. The going was agonizingly slow. He felt some of the captors struggle against the gravity that locked them in place, hoping to break free. Someone’s psych ability nudged around his head looking for a way in. With all his efforts focused, he continued to slide across the room.

A blast of steam and heat hit Jeff, knocking him sideways. He slid a couple of feet across the ground and came to a rest in a heap. Dazed, he shook his head and sat up. Then he remembered what he’d been doing. He leapt to his feet and searched the room for the group of captors. Too late. The doors swung closed behind them. Source was gone.

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About the author and where to find her:

Kai StrandWhen her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.
 

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Excerpt Reveal: Soulless (Book #4: King Series) by T.M. Frazier

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Title: Soulless Series: Book #4: King Series Author: T.M. Frazier Format: Kindle Edition, 227 pages Expected publication: February 23, 2016 ASIN: B018PVXCQY

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Excerpt from Soulless (Book #4: King Series):

“I’ll deal with you when we get back to the house,” Bear snapped, his words loaded with so many different meanings I trembled with both fear and anticipation.

“You’re going to deal with me?” I asked. “How are you going to deal with me?” My attitude and confidence faded with each word until the last was merely a whisper.

“Yes, DEAL with you,” Bear warned, suddenly pausing to take in my appearance. Slowly, from top to bottom, like he’d only just realized I was standing there. His eyelids hung heavy over his sapphire blues as he licked my body with his eyes, drinking me in like he was thirsty.    

No, not thirsty.

Hungry.

When he licked his lips I could have sworn he was about to eat me alive. I tingled all over. The awareness of him in such close proximity after so long washed over me. Angry or not, my body didn’t care. I didn’t care. I wanted to reach out and touch his face, reassure him that he had no reason to be angry, but part of me liked that I could draw that kind of reaction from him. He came alive when he was pissed, and something inside me loved that he became this primal possessive beast out to remind me who it was I belonged to.  

Bear clenched his jaw and the muscles in his neck tensed and strained. He looked as if he were ready to either kill or fuck. All I knew was that, one way or another, I was about to de devoured.

I pressed my thighs together, trying to manage the pulsing between my legs, but the contact only ignited it further. Bear chuckled and glanced down to where my ankles were crossed. He closed the gap between us in two short strides, taking me off guard. I stumbled backward, tripping over a lose rock in the road. he reached out and roughly grabbed my arm before I could fall, pulling me flush into his hard chest. His warm skin radiated through my thin dress. I bit my lip, suppressing a moan. My legs grew weaker and weaker as he lowered his head, inching closer and closer, until I was sure his lips were going to meet mine, when without warning he released my arm and spun away. “Get in the fucking truck, Ti,” he called back to me.

I stood there, unable to move, and trying to catch my breath while he headed over to King’s truck like that moment never passed between us. When he noticed I wasn’t behind him he growled and stalked back over to me. He grabbed me by the waist, his fingers digging into my skin. He lifted me up, my short dress bunching up over my butt cheeks and slung me over his shoulder like I was a rolled up rug.

Wack.

He slapped my ass with his open palm. Hard. The bite of the smack stung where I was sure he’d left his mark. He tossed me into the truck with a caveman grunt and slammed the door behind me.

I was confused as all hell.

I was so angry.

I was also elated.

I was in lust so hard that I was in physical pain.

I was really fucking angry.

I was head over heels in love.

Motherfucker.

SOULLESS TEASER 1

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About the author and where to find her:

t.m. frazierT.M. Frazier is a USA TODAY bestselling author. She resides in sunny Southwest Florida with her husband and young daughter. When she’s not writing she loves talking to her readers, country music, reading, and traveling. Her debut novel, The Dark Light of Day was published in September of 2013 and when she started writing it she intended for it to be a light beachy romance. Well…it has a beach in it!

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Ink and Lies by S.L. Jennings

INK & LIES BOOK TOUR

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Synopsis:

From International Best Selling Romance Novelist, Hope Hughes, comes a gripping, heartfelt tale of two lovers, fighting for the freedom to…

No. Scratch that. Too cheesy.

…two people, torn apart by the tumultuous tides of life, only to discover refuge in…

WTF? What does that even mean? DELETE.

…two people, confused as shit as to where they should be and who they should love and none of this means a damn thing because it’s all lies!

Lies.

I’m not Hope Hughes. I’m not some fierce woman romance machine. Hell, I’m not even a woman.

I’m a liar.

And while I refuse to believe my own BS, deceit masked in heartfelt phrases of love and devotion, I want to make her believe them. Because maybe—just maybe—if she can find the soul within my words, she’ll also be able to find the truth scribbled on my heart.

You see, I once lived for the perfect plot twist.

I just never expected to actually live it.

This is my story. Well, maybe her story. I just wish I could make it our story.

The one I’m still writing.

ink and lies teaser BT

Excerpt from Ink and Lies:

“Yeah, but…” Her eyes grow wide and glossy as she tries to sift through all the reasons why that theory shouldn’t apply to her. In the end, she relies on her heart. “You said I wasn’t like those other women…that those other women weren’t me.”

I should tell her she’s right. I should put her out of her misery and reassure her that the last ten years were as real and meaningful to me as they were for her. That even though I may sling gift-wrapped bullshit for the general public, only she knows the true, honest parts of my heart. But with my tongue possessed by the taste of her rejection, I play the petty card, and do just the opposite.

“I guess I was wrong, especially considering yesterday’s events. Maybe you’re no different from them. And maybe you were right about me…that I do sabotage with sex to keep people at arm’s length. Because in the end, that’s all I want anyway, right?”

“You don’t mean that.”

I nod. “Yeah. I do.”

“So what are you saying?” The hurt is so thick in her throat that I can barely hear the words.

I suck in a breath, and scrub a hand over my forehead. “You were right about me. About us. We shouldn’t have done…what we did. And we can’t move on and pretend that it didn’t change us. What’s done is done.”

“I agree,” she nods, with a tinge of hope in her voice.

“So, maybe we should just see this for what it is—the end. You’re starting your life with Joshua and moving away, and I’m going on with mine.”

“Wait, August. No, that’s not—”

“You didn’t actually think we’d be able to keep this up, did you? What, you thought we’d turn out to be the modern day Cathy and Heathcliff? I’m not some swoony, literary hero, Fi. I’m not here to rescue you from your shitty love life that stems from your shitty childhood.”

“I never said you were—”

I’m rambling, spewing verbal diarrhea all over her blue cashmere, but I can’t stop. I can’t shut off the bile that has been choking me since this morning when she disclosed her impending nuptials. “You have Joshua. He’s the one you chose. He’s the one you want. You made that perfectly clear. So what the fuck do you need with me?”

“I thought we were friends, August. I thought you and me were—”

“Well, I guess you were wrong. Friends don’t fuck each other and then five minutes later get engaged. And why would you want to be friends with some empty, misogynistic prick like me anyway?”

“I-I didn’t mean,” her voice cracks, and the first tear escapes. She quickly dashes it away, refusing to let me play witness to her weakness. But I’ve already seen it. I share that very same weakness that has her bottom lip trembling. I’m just too much of a coward to show it.

“Look, I’m sorry. I think we just need a break.”

“A break. Yes,” she nods, dashing away tears. “You’re right. We both said things we shouldn’t have. Let’s just take a few days to…”

“No. A break from this,” I clarify, gesturing between us. “From us. This isn’t working anymore.”

“You’re being melodramatic, August. We’ve had fights before. We’ve said things we didn’t mean, and we always were able to work it out.”

I shake my head and look away, refusing to acknowledge the dejection on her face. “But I meant everything I said.”

ink and lies teaser 1

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About the author and where to find her:

SL BIOS.L. Jennings is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance, reality TV junkie, obsessive coffee drinker and collector of crazy.

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At Water’s Edge (Book #1: The Water Rushes Series) by S. McPherson

 

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Title: At Water’s Edge Series: Book #1: The Water Rushes Author: S. McPherson Age/Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance Format: Paperback, 347 pages Published: November 10, 2015 by S McPherson Books ISBN: 0993360505

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Synopsis:

When 17-year-old, Dezaray Storm drunkenly stumbles across a portal one night, her downtrodden life begins to change, mainly because she starts living someone else’s life.  Accidently trading places with the most powerful sorceress of the realm, Coldivor, Dezaray finds herself assuming the identity of her magical lookalike, having to convince everyone in the realm that she is the real deal.  Aside from a few minor hiccups along the way, like the fact that she is not magical nor does she know even the simplest cards trick; Dezaray soon finds herself settling in. Particularly in the arms of Milo; a blue-eyed jokester with the ability to teleport.  However, it doesn’t take long for Dezaray to realise that life on the other side is far from glitz and glamour and that creatures unimaginable are hunting her. A war is brewing between the seven empires of Coldivor and those that long to take over. Dezaray’s enchanted double is their only hope; their secret weapon, set to be unleashed on her eighteenth birthday when she is bequeathed with the powers of her forefathers.  But for the enchantress to return, Dezaray has to leave, and the thought of going back to Islon fills Dezaray with dread, for more reasons than one. Torn between a reality she can’t stand and a fantasy she can’t keep, Dezaray is struggling to see how any choice she makes will lead to a happy ending.

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About the author and where to find her:

S McPhersonS. McPherson is a young British expat living in Dubai and working as a kindergarten teacher. When she is not at work immersed in a world of imagination and fantasy created by the children, she is immersed in her own worlds of imagination and fantasy at home, dreaming up tales and writing them down. At Water’s Edge is S. McPherson’s début novel and the first in the romantic, fantasy series, The Water Rushes.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Lost in Her (Book #4: K2 Team Series) by Sandra Owens

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Title: Lost in Her Series: Book #4: K2 Team Author: Sandra Owens Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense  Format: Paperback, 290 pages Published: February 9, 2016 by Montlake Romance ISBN: 1503953297

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Synopsis:

It’s been a year since Ryan O’Connor buried his wife. He was in Afghanistan as a SEAL medic when the call came that she’d been killed during a robbery. In that time, he returned home, nursed his grief, and joined his former brothers-in-arms in the K2 Special Services.  After a bad breakup with her ex, Charlene “Charlie” Morgan finds happiness only when flying the friendly skies—as an aerobatic stunt pilot. But the skies aren’t so friendly when her plane troubles turn out to be the work of sabotage.  Looking to forget their worries, Charlie and Ryan run into each other at a bar. The chemistry is instant and intense. It’s only supposed to be a one-night stand. But the memory of their passionate kiss lingers, and when Ryan shows up at Charlie’s flight school, their romance takes off. Yet the route to love has its own turbulence—secrets, lies, and danger. Can one night lead to something lasting?

Excerpt from Lost in Her (Book #4: K2Team Series):

There were no clouds overhead, and as Charlie peered up at billions of stars twinkling in a velvet black sky, she pulled her T-shirt over her head, and then slid her jeans down her legs. Too chicken to remove her bra and panties, she turned and walked down to the water, feeling daring. She had never done anything like that before and wondered why not.

Walking into the surf until she was thigh deep, she laughed when a wave almost knocked her over. The water was cold but not freezing, and she turned so that the oncoming wave would hit her in the back. In front of her, Ryan stood in water up to his knees, not a stitch on. As if she were metal to his magnet, she went to him.

“You’re like a sea goddess, here to bewitch me,” he said when she was inches from him.

“You have a glib tongue,” she answered.

“I’m Irish. Glib is in my blood.”

“I’m good with your being Irish, but I’m really fond of your tongue.”

The white of his teeth gleamed in the moonlight when he grinned. “I think you should prove to me just how fond of it you are.”

She took a step closer. “You have no clothes on.”

“I’m doing something wrong if you’re just now noticing that, Charlie.”

“Oh, believe me, I noticed.”

Taking her hand, he led her deeper into the gulf, past where the waves were breaking. Although his chest and head were above the water, she was on her tiptoes. When he realized she was struggling not to swallow salt water, he laughed.

“Climb up me, little girl, before you drown.” As she grabbed his shoulders, her feet leaving the ocean floor, he deftly slid off her panties.

She punched his arm. “You’re a sneaky one.”

“You’ve no idea. You know, the knights of old would be given a token from their lady before going into battle,” he said, tugging her panties up his arm. “I think I’ll keep these as my good luck charm.”

“Ha! I don’t think they gave them their panties.”

“Actually, I don’t believe they wore panties back then. A good practice, that.”

“Men,” she said. She wrapped her legs around his waist, and her arms around his neck. His arms circled her back, and they held each other as the water swirled around them. Without him to anchor her, the current would have swept her away, but he was so strong that she felt safe and protected. The heat from his body kept her warm.

“Kiss me, Charlene.”

They kissed and petted and kissed some more under the moonlit night and the stars twinkling above. With him holding her close, she thought she could spend all night there in the Gulf of Mexico, doing nothing but loving him.

When the cold finally penetrated her skin and she shivered, he carried her out of the water and up to the dune where he had spread the blanket. With his large body covering hers, warming her again, he made love to her there on the sand, which was still heated from the daytime sun. His touches and kisses were tender, and as he whispered her name softly into her ear, she felt cherished. She squeezed her eyes shut against the tears burning in them and loved him back.

It was the most beautiful night Charlie had ever known.

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About the author and where to find her:

Sandra Owens

A best selling, award-winning author, Sandra Owens lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her family and friends often question her sanity, but have ceased being surprised by what she might get up to next. She’s jumped out of a plane, flown in an aerobatic plane while the pilot performed thrilling stunts, has flown Air Combat (two fighter planes dogfighting, pretending to shoot at each other with laser guns), and rode a Harley motorcycle for years. She regrets nothing.  Sandra is a 2013 Golden Heart® Finalist for her contemporary romance, CRAZY FOR HER. In addition to her contemporary romantic suspense novels, she writes Regency stories.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Mending Heartstrings by Aria Glazki

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Title: Mending Heartstrings Author: Aria Glazki Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance Format: ebook, 2nd Edition Published: February 9, 2016 by Anika Press ISBN13: 9781943572038

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Synopsis:

Kane’s a country singer who’s tangled with too many deceitful women. He’s learned his lesson: girls are for flirting and fun; emotions are for his music. But after spending a night with an earnest woman unlike any he’s known, he can’t force her out of his mind. So he goes in search of the woman he knows only as “Elle.” On her last night in Nashville, the staunchly pragmatic Sabella found herself in a situation more suited to a romance novel than reality. Swept away, she ignored her rigidly self-imposed rules, succumbing to the fantasy just this once. But she knows real-world relationships have nothing in common with their fictionalized portrayals. When Kane unexpectedly shows up at her Portland apartment, she must choose between the practical truths she has learned and the desire for a passionate love she has struggled to suppress.  Despite the distance, Kane’s tour schedule, and their meddling friends, both are drawn to the chance for a romance neither quite believes is possible.

Excerpt from Mending Heartstrings:

“So how did you know I was from out of town?” She hadn’t thought she stood out quite so blatantly, and there were plenty of people in Nashville without Southern accents, so that couldn’t have given her away.

“You don’t act like a local girl,” he answered, relaxing back into the couch. His hands rested gently on his thighs, and he sat with his ankles crossed. He looked so perfectly comfortable that she felt even more self-conscious, standing in the middle of the room, thumbs tucked into the pockets of her jeans.

“And how do local girls act?” she asked curiously, shifting her weight to one hip to appear more relaxed.

“Confident. Assertive. They know exactly what they bring to the table, and exactly what they want to take away.” He paused. She felt herself swallow but continued to watch him. “But they rarely take any real risks,” he finished.

Kane stood and stepped forward, which brought him a touch closer to her than would have been casual. Sabella could see the stubble beginning to grow over his angled jaw and slightly rounded chin, his hair brushing over the tops of his ears and down to the back of his shirt collar, the thin scar that angled from right above his lip toward his left cheek, and the slightly flattened line of his nose that told her it had been broken at least once. He smelled faintly of wood with an overlay of beer, a combination she never would have imagined to be alluring.

She shifted moderately closer to him. If his assessment of these women was accurate, she definitely had little in common with them. Maybe it was her natural curiosity, but she almost never knew well enough to avoid taking risks, though she relentlessly attempted to impose sensible limitations on herself. Clearly that wasn’t working so well tonight.

Over a foot remained between them, yet their stance felt oddly intimate. Until the door was opened by an older woman in a jean skirt, black halter top, and well-worn leather boots.

Sabella took a hasty step back, but the woman was looking at Kane. He hadn’t reacted as sharply as she had, but rather did a slow half turn toward the door.

“Amber Lynn,” he said by way of greeting and smiled somewhat crookedly.

“Kane,” she responded, with a voice so husky she must have spent years shouting to be heard. “Not your best night,” she said casually then turned toward Sabella. “Now you must be why the boys keep on askin’ me for a karaoke night.” Her eyes took in Sabella’s silky purple top, manicured hands, casual sandals, and loosely waved hair, which didn’t accurately reflect the fact that it had taken almost an hour to style. She took her time, as if her eyes moved through the same honey that dripped from her voice—though that’s how Sabella thought of most country accents she had heard in her brief time in Nashville.

“Amber Lynn here’s the owner of the Fiddle an’ Steel,” Kane explained. His drawl was actually not as thick, with only a hint of flattened vowels and that light softening to some of his consonants.

“Pleasure to meet you,” Sabella offered politely.

“Welcome to Nashville,” Amber Lynn replied. “What’re you hidin’ in here for? A lotta them boys would sure love to get to know ya better after that little show y’all put on.” The last few words were directed at Kane. Amber Lynn narrowed her eyes a bit and pursed her lips, as if trying to discern Kane’s motives.

“Give ’er a chance to recover, Amber Lynn.” Kane’s innocent smile never wavered.

Amber Lynn considered him for a moment, glanced again at Sabella, and turned back toward the door. “Behave yourself, boy,” she threw over her shoulder as she walked out.

“You know me!” he called after her, grinning. “So.” He turned back to Sabella, and his mouth settled into a half smile. “Can I buy you a drink?”

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About the author and where to find her:

Aria’s writing story started when her seventh-grade English teacher encouraged her to submit a class assignment for publication. That piece was printed, and let’s just say, she was hooked!  Since then, Aria has run a literary magazine, earned her degree in Creative Writing (as well as in French and Russian literatures), and been published here and there. Though her first kiss technically came from a bear cub, and no fairytale transformation followed, Aria still believes magic can happen when the right people come together—if they don’t get in their own way, that is.  Other than all things literary, Aria loves spending time with her family, including her two unbearably adorable nieces. She also dabbles in painting, dancing, playing violin, and, given the opportunity, Epicureanism.

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Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Sweepstakes: The Keeper (Book #1: Crossing Realms Series) by Rebecca E. Neely

The Keeper Cover

Title: The Keeper Series: Book #1: Crossing Realms Author: Rebecca E. Neely Expected publication: April 27, 2016 by Soul Mate Publishing

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Synopsis:

Nick Geary, jaded clan leader of human guardians the Keepers, is doomed to love a human woman who’s forgotten him, time after time, for thirteen years: Libby Klink, a skittish accountant who’s as terrified of her recent and strange intuitions as she is of her mundane existence.  When Nick is ordered by the clan’s guiding force to seek Libby’s help in defending the clan against enemy Betrayers, romance sizzles as the pair forms an unlikely alliance in their desperate search to discover the key to the clan’s salvation—which Libby alone holds.  But a haunting secret could cost Nick everything, and in a race against time, both will be forced to choose between their hearts and duty. Can their love, and the clan survive, or will the very forces that drew them together ultimately destroy them?

Excerpt from The Keeper (Book #1: Crossing Realms Series):

Libby Klink gripped the wheel of her Sonata tighter. She squeezed her eyes shut against the gridlock of makes, models and metal surrounding her; against the stone cold gray of the highway’s Jersey barrier, four inches from her left side view mirror.

Just a traffic jam.

Her body knew different. Her pulse raced. Her blood, her brain wailed, frantic with the rhythm. She battled the stars claiming her vision, gulping air into her lungs. Shaking, she rummaged in her purse until her fingers closed around a prescription bottle. Flipping open the lid, she snatched one white round pill and downed it with a swallow from the ever present water bottle in her drink holder. Sweat glazed her scalp, her neck, her armpits. She shivered inside her lightweight cardigan and scraped her ponytail away from her damp skin.

Just a road.

Like hell. More like a cattle chute. She’d been sitting here, what, ten minutes? She lowered the driver side window to breathe in greedy mouthfuls of early April air. And willed the meds to kick in, trying not to think about the fact she was effectively trapped. On I-279 South. About a quarter mile outside the city of Pittsburgh. Or that she had to pee.

She closed her eyes, tried to conjure soothing mental imagery; a forest, a beach. Wasn’t that what her therapist taught her to do? But other thoughts and images crowded her mind.

The cashier at the grocery store two nights ago.

The barista at the coffee house this morning.

The smells.

The dreams.

If that’s what they are.

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About the author and where to find her:

Rebecca NeelyA sucker for a happy ending, Rebecca writes the kind of stories she loves to read—those featuring authentic, edgy and vulnerable characters, smack dab in the middle of action that explodes from page one. 

Raised on a down home blend of Johnny Cash, Jack London, Sherlock Holmes, the Steelers, and all things small town, Rebecca feels blessed to have grown up in a close knit, fun loving and artistic family. Her mother, a voracious reader and scratch cook, and her father, an entrepreneur, English teacher and lover of literature, taught Rebecca and her brother to work hard, aim for the stars, and live life. 

With music, books and laughter as constant companions, she grew up working, cooking and eating in the family’s restaurant business. A certified book and hoagie junkie, Rebecca thrives on live music, mysteries and the outdoors. 

She’s a cheddar enthusiast, lover of cats, teddy bears, hot coffee, cold beer, thunderstorms, the blast of a train’s whistle, the change of seasons, country roads, woodpeckers, spoon rings, cool office supplies, and the Food Network. 

Careers, past and present, include freelance writing, accounting, mother, problem solver, doer and head bottle washer.

Rebecca is a member of the Three Rivers Romance Writers, a PAN member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), and is honored to serve as a judge for several writing contests each year.

For more info, news and updates about upcoming releases, sign up for Rebecca’s newsletter!

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