Tour: Palace Dog by R.E. Nelson *Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Palace Dog
by R.E. Nelson

A Hisorical M/M Romance
From Dreamspinner Press
Released February 27th 2015

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In April 1975, as the government in Saigon is falling, Michael Andrews prepares to make his way back to Vietnam to find the love he was forced to leave.

But Michael’s journey begins four years earlier. He joins the Air Force to keep out of the Army and out of Vietnam, but his first assignment is teaching English in Saigon to members of the Vietnamese military in an Army program called Palace Dog.

As an artist, and a man, before his time in Vietnam, Michael found life lonely and unsatisfying. In the midst of war, Michael searches for direction and meaning. He ultimately finds love and hope with Thao, a young Vietnamese art student, only to have their already uncertain future wrenched from them when he is pulled out of the country.

For Michael, his return in 1975 is inevitable and without question, though the outcome he hopes for is anything but assured.

 

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Excerpt

The cyclo had bumped across the bridge, following the curve in the road, then moved quickly down the final straight stretch, past houses and shops, past rows of trees and walls and occasional open spaces, past vendors who lined the street’s edge selling gasoline in glass bottles. Motorcycles, Lambretta mini-buses packed with people, cream-and-blue Renault taxis, pedestrians with baskets and boxes—all crowded the street. Noises, smells, and smoke came from everywhere, and as the driver increased his speed, I smiled, gripping the metal frame tighter and pushing slightly with my feet as the moist wind rushed around me.

Speeding through the streets of Saigon, wearing the green Air Force-issued jungle fatigues, my life of a year ago seemed unreal.

 

About the Author

R.E. Nelson was born in Texas and raised in Southern California. He has been writing for as long as he can remember. One of his earliest recollections related to writing is winning an essay contest in sixth grade–something patriotic about the American flag. When he travels, his preference is staying in select areas for an extended period of time and learning about that place. He has lived in both Vietnam (twice, actually) and Saudi Arabia, and also spent time in Egypt, South Korea, Shanghai (his only China visit thus far), and Dubai. Now he is happy to call San Francisco home. You can follow the author at @RENelson13. Author factoid: Favorite of your books? Palace Dog

 

 

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New Release Spotlight: Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall *Giveaway*

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Waiting for the Flood
by Alexis Hall

An M/M Romance
From Riptide Publishing
Released February 23rd 2015

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People come as well as go.

Twelve years ago, Edwin Tully came to Oxford and fell in love with a boy named Marius. He was brilliant. An artist. It was going to be forever.

Two years ago, it ended.

Now Edwin lives alone in the house they used to share. He tends to damaged books and faded memories, trying to build a future from the fragments of the past.

Then the weather turns, and the river spills into Edwin’s quiet world, bringing with it Adam Dacre from the Environment Agency. An unlikely knight, this stranger with roughened hands and worn wellingtons, but he offers Edwin the hope of something he thought he would never have again.

 

As the two men grow closer in their struggle against the rising waters, Edwin learns he can’t protect himself from everything—and sometimes he doesn’t need to try.

 

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About the Author

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.

He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a title from Alexis Hall’s backlist (not including Waiting for the Flood.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 28. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

Cover Re-reveal: Over the Edge by Suzanne Carroll *Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Over the Edge
by Suzanne Carroll

A Contemporary Romance
From The Writer’s Coffee Shop (May 9th 2013)

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In six weeks, Zoe Harper will marry Dan Costi in an over-the-top Sydney society wedding, complete with fire-eaters and belly dancers. But when she receives an unexpected gift from her future mother-in-law, Zoe realises she’s making a huge mistake. In a blazing sidewalk argument, she breaks up with her fiancé—and his mother, who has joined the fight via conference call.

Following the advice of friends and co-workers, along with some inspiration from late-night-television self-help guru Dr. Pam, Zoe sets out to find the life she thinks she should be living. Always a planner, she makes a list of goals: travel, career, tattoos, and no romantic entanglements. It’s all carefully laid out, until she meets Angus Creed.

Angus is supposed to lead the opening waltz at a charity ball in New York City. Only problem is the handsome billionaire construction magnate with the tabloid past can’t dance. Not one step.

Tainted by gossip and with a well-publicised failed engagement behind him, Angus has become a master at keeping an emotional distance. Until he meets Zoe.

What starts as dancing lessons slowly becomes something more. Angus begins to let down his guard and open his heart, even when his past makes an unexpected and unwelcome return. As Zoe discovers the real man behind the headlines, she questions where her new choices are taking her. Her goals look good on paper, but are they what she really wants? And by the time she realizes where her heart lies, will it be too late?

 

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Review

5-stars

Zoe is stressed out about her wedding. She feels like she’s the star of a circus where her mother-in-law is the ringleader. Her wishes are ignored, her opinions not taken into account. It all comes to a halt when her in-laws go too far and shatter her vision of her dream home. She won’t take it anymore, she sees the light. In one sudden move, Zoe confronts her fiance and ends it all.

This was a wonderful story. It definitely was a surprise to find myself so drawn into the story that I read it all in one sitting – laughing, crying and yelling for the main characters to get things done. Especially since there wasn’t a sex scene in sight!

I loved Zoe. Funny, cautious but strong-headed as hell, she was an amazing character to get to know. It felt like we were friends while I was laughing at her antics, crying with her and celebrating her new-found independence. Angus was lovely too. Sexy, confident but with an air of vulnerability to him I couldn’t resist, I adored him. I liked that how he treated Zoe from the start, always like an equal and with great consideration. I understood where he was coming from and in the end, he had me hooked. I wanted them to work out, I needed to believe that they would get their happily ever after.

Suzanne Carroll did a wonderful job of bringing these two characters together in a way that felt believable to me. Although the professionalism between employer and employer was ever present there was always the sense that they were becoming friends – an easy camaraderie that helped the believability of the story. I enjoyed their interactions, their humor and how well they got along. But most of all I enjoyed the complexity of the characters and how their emotions were brought to the page. I could easily feel Angus frustrations over his past and Zoe’s hesitations about opening herself up to the possibility of something more with Angus.

All in all, Over the Edge was a funny, romantic story about letting go and starting anew.

*I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

Guitar music starts filtering through just as I’m drifting back to sleep. It’s a lovely sound, soft and gentle. It rises and falls so evenly, almost in time with my breathing, and I could listen to it forever. Except, I’m supposed to be alone in this cabin, so that means there shouldn’t be guitar music.

Shit.

My eyes snap open.

Did I leave a radio on? Is there even a radio here? What if it’s an axe murderer? Are they usually musical?

The music keeps playing as I climb slowly out of bed and, thankfully, the room doesn’t spin quite so much this time. The door is open a crack, and when I peek into the living room, my hangover evaporates and my heart starts crashing against my ribs.

There is a man sitting on the sofa.

Who the fuck is he? And what did I do last night? My stomach drops to my toes.

Whoever he is, he’s made himself at home. His bare feet are resting on the edge of the coffee table. There’s a blanket thrown over the arm of the sofa. Across his lap he holds a guitar. He’s frowning, lips pursed slightly, as he studies the movement of his long fingers over the strings. His body moves subtly in time with his music. The muscles in his forearm roll and flex as he plays.

Despite the shock of finding him here, I’m struck by the beauty of his pose. The way he holds the guitar is almost tender. His face is so intent, he’s so absorbed in what he’s doing. And what he’s doing is beautiful. The music is so rich and sweet.

His hair is dark and tousled, and it hangs over his forehead and into his eyes. I would guess he’s about my age, perhaps a little older.
He doesn’t look like an axe murderer. Maybe this is some ridiculous mix up with reservations. Should I confront him? Or climb out the bedroom window and run for help? As I’m considering my options, he looks up.

“Hello,” he says. “You’re awake.” He offers me a smile that’s warm and wary, but it’s his eyes that really have my attention. He has beautiful eyes. Long-lashed and dark brown. He blinks slowly, almost lazily. My unease begins to fade.

I find myself being drawn into the room – one tentative step, then another. Those eyes stay on me, gauging my reaction.

“I’m not sure how much you recall,” he says. His voice is warm and mellow. “Should I introduce myself again?”

“That would be a good idea, yes.” Despite a wildly beating heart, my voice is surprisingly calm. Calmer than the voice in my head, the one yelling at me to move away from the stranger who has appeared uninvited in my cabin. Away. Not closer.

Guitar Man unfolds himself from the sofa. He’s tall. Much taller than he appeared when he was sitting. He smiles and offers me his hand.

“Hello,” he says again. “I’m Angus Creed.”

It could be the shock of what Guitar Man has said, or it could be the hangover, but suddenly my head is spinning again and the floor is coming up to meet me.

“Hey…”

I’m suddenly weightless as he scoops me into his arms and eases me onto the sofa. He crouches on the floor in front of me as I sag into the corner cushions and I stare into those dark, guarded eyes with the long lashes. This is Angus Creed?

What the fuck is he doing here? I’m guessing the holiday brochure on Susan’s desk wasn’t for her, after all.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” I start to nod but stop quickly, wincing.

“Headache?”
“Um…a bit.” It’s an effort to think straight and I close my eyes, but when I feel his hand on my forehead they snap open again.

This is surreal. I should be asking him to leave, not gazing into his eyes as he strokes his fingers over my forehead.

There’s a roughness to his skin, no doubt from those years spent as a builder, not a businessman. But even so, his touch is gentle and soothing, like his music. A delicious sense of warmth flows through me.

The pounding in my head begins to ease. I sink deeper into the sofa and might never get up again. But my mouth is dry and I run my tongue over my lips.

“I’ll get you some water,” he says. Suddenly his hand is gone, but the warmth stays. There are sounds from the kitchen: the creak of a cupboard door and the splash of water into a glass.

I wrestle myself into a sitting position and catch my reflection in the glass doors. My hair is flat. That means I must have worn my beanie at some stage. But when? Not in front of him, I hope.

I turn my head and see he’s walking across the room to me, his bare feet moving silently over the timber floor. He holds out the glass and I nod at the blanket tossed over the armrest. “You were here all night?”

“You asked me to stay.”

Shit. Mr One Night Stand. What have I done? The horror must show on my face.

“No,” he shakes his head, “not like that.”

And of course his response means he knows exactly where my mind has gone. Quick. Backtrack.

“Oh. Good. I mean…not that I thought…you and me, that we…”

Oh, what am I saying? And why is he looking like that, listening so intently? Just shut up, Zoe. Shut up and drink the water.

But it’s too late. The image is in my head now. It’s probably in his head too. At least I look fabulous and acrobatic in my version of events. I wonder if I’m hungover with flat hair in his.

Guitar Man…Angus…Mr Creed…stays still by the fireplace. He watches me and I watch him. There’s the faint shadow of a bruise on the cheekbone under his left eye.

When I’ve had enough to drink, I set the glass on the coffee table. “Thank you,” I murmur.

“How are you feeling now?”

“Better after the water. I needed that.” It’s true, my head is a bit clearer but the events of last night still elude me. I need him to explain exactly what happened. I also need to find out what I’ve told him. Did I tell him my name? Does he know I work for his company? That I’m the Zoe Harper who sent his reports off yesterday morning? I don’t think so, because I’m quite certain he wouldn’t be here, like this.

My heart pounds. I’m not sure how to play this, but I find myself wishing he’d stroke my forehead again.

 

About the Author

suzanne carroll

Suzanne lives in Sydney with her husband and children. By day she works in an office where she sneakily scribbles plot ideas on yellow sticky notes and hopes they don’t accidentally end up on the departmental monthly report.

One such sticky note has turned into her first novel, Over the Edge.

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New Release: Broken Honor (HORNET, #3) by Tonya Burrows *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Broken Honor (HORNET, #3)
by Tonya Burrows

A Suspenseful Romance
From Entangled – Select
Released February 24th 2015

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Wounded warrior Travis Quinn, battles against memory loss and time to locate the mother of his unborn child, Mara Escareno, when she is kidnapped and sold into the dark and dangerous world of human trafficking.

Ice-cold and unbreakable, Travis Quinn is the HORNET team’s hard-ass. No weaknesses. Except, of course, for the accident that not only destroyed his career as a Navy SEAL, but left terrifying blanks in his memory. But Travis remembers everything about Mara Escareno–the curve of her lips, the feel of her body…and how he walked out on her suddenly six weeks ago.

Mara could never resist the dangerously sexy Travis, which is probably how she ended up pregnant and disowned by her family. But before Travis can fully process the news, Mara is kidnapped by his enemies and plunged into the violent, merciless world of human trafficking. They want Travis–and the information locked within his damaged memory–no matter the cost. And now Travis’s enemies have discovered his only weakness…Mara.

 

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Review

Travis and the HORNET team celebrated the New Year and got a month off to relax and decompress from their last mission. But Travis can’t seem to relax, especially when he can’t stop thinking about Mara. Being in the company of the men and their women, leaves him sad and confused. Those emotions coupled with the uncertainty of his future with the HORNET team throws him for a loop and he soon finds himself at Mara’s doorstep.

Mara’s reunion with Travis is bittersweet. On the one hand she’s elated to see him again on the other she knows that he’s probably not staying, especially once she confesses her secret. She battles with her head and her heart not realizing until it’s too late that Travis’ enemies are after her and that the quickest way to get to him it’s through her.

Ohhh but I loved, LOVED this story. From the moment I met Travis in SEAL of Honor, I knew his story would be interesting and downright hot. He had a way about him that intrigued me. It didn’t surprise me why they called him Archilles. He had the ability to shut down, compartmentalizing his emotions and keeping people at bay. He let his past dictate his present and his future until he realized what he would be missing if he stayed his course.

Kudos to Tonya Burrows for a wonderful job in bringing his story to the page. There were the conflicting emotions regarding Mara and their situation, his struggle to come to terms with his condition and the frustration that brought about plus his self-imposed punishment of not allowing himself the chance to love and be loved. I loved it!

And let’s not forget to mention the twist and turns that were thrown into the mix. Everything worked together well–from the initial kidnapping to who was behind it and the different events that took place in between. Nothing was too over the top nor overwhelming for the reader. I enjoyed the underlying plot, the pace at which the author set the story and the resolution of the conflict. I also appreciated the bits of humor that were scattered throughout and the range in emotions that both characters portrayed.

I loved the romance as a whole, especially how the author never let it interfere with the conflict. I appreciated the fact that these two didn’t hook up every chance they got. I loved how with every interaction they shared their connection deepened even more. Even through the fighting and the misunderstandings it was clear that they had something more than their physical attraction. That’s not to say that they didn’t share great chemistry. They did. And it was H.O.T!

As with the previous installments we get to see the other members of HORNET and get to know them a little bit more. I loved seeing how far Seth (my favorite HORNET!) had healed and how Gabe had come to terms with his injury. Of course, there are the other members which I’m curious to know more about, especially Jesse. He got a little more exposure in this story since he’s Mara’s cousin and I can’t wait to read more about him!

All in all, a riveting read with a fantastic mix of romance, intrigue and emotions.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt
I’m done with being quiet.

 

I love this scene because it really shows how conflicted Quinn is about Mara and her pregnancy. He cares for Mara, but he doesn’t know how to communicate his feelings. That combined with the pregnancy scaring the hell out of him, he can’t cope and freezes her out. This excerpt embodies the conflict of their relationship throughout the book. ~ Tonya Burrows

Travis cupped her cheeks in his hands, much the same way she had his that day in her bedroom, and Mara snapped back to the present. Her body hummed from the all too vivid memories.

“Travis?” Her voice came out a shaky whisper.

He drew her in closer and claimed her mouth with commanding lips and an exploring tongue. A little alarm chimed in the back of her mind. He must not be fully awake yet and didn’t realize what he was doing, because since finding out about the baby, he’d barely been able to look at her, and the only time he’d touched her was to protect her from something. For that reason alone, she should pull away, but he took the kiss deeper, his hard mouth demanding a response, and she melted. She couldn’t help it. Like it or not, she’d always melt for this man.

Her breasts ached and her peaked nipples scraped uncomfortably against the material of her bra. She arched her back, pressing against his chest, seeking some kind of relief. His hand left her cheek, skimmed her neck, her shoulder, and finally settled over her breast, cupping her through her shirt. She wanted skin to skin. Oh, how she wanted it, and she moaned her encouragement.

In a burst of movement, he rolled, tucked her under his body, leaned down to kiss her again—

And froze when his hard stomach brushed hers.

“Fuck.” He shoved back onto his knees and dragged his hands through his too-long hair.

She propped herself up on her elbows. “What’s wrong?” “What isn’t wrong is the better question. Wrong place, wrong time. Everything I just did was fucking wrong. Christ.” He got up and paced across the room like he couldn’t get away from her fast enough.

Chilled to the bone by his abrupt rejection, she snapped up his coat from the floor and pulled it on. It smelled like him, and that rankled. “Pregnancy is not a communicable disease, Travis.”

With his back to her, she clearly saw his spine stiffen. “I know that.”

Oh, if he wanted a fight, she was ready to give it to him. It was about time they discussed the proverbial pink elephant in the room. “Do you? Because you’ve done everything but put on a hazmat suit to avoid touching me.”

“Mara,” he said and massaged his temples. “Just—be quiet for a minute.”

Be quiet? She stared at his back in disbelief. “No! I will not. Everyone always wants me to be fucking quiet. To be unseen. To be a lady. To not make trouble. Well, you know what? I’m done with being quiet.” She climbed to her feet. “And, you, Travis—”

“Quinn,” he said in an icy tone. “My name’s Quinn. Nobody calls me by my first name.”

“Excuse me?” She planted her hands on her hips. “We’ve slept together, and I’m carrying your child. I think if anyone gets to break that rule, it’s me.”

He finally faced her again, and his expression was a frighteningly blank mask.

Smile, Travis. I promise it won’t hurt…

 

HORNET Series

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SEAL of Honor (HORNET #1)
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Honor Reclaimed (HORNET, #2)
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About the Author

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Tonya Burrows wrote her first romance in 8th grade and hasn’t put down her pen since. Originally from a small town in Western New York, she’s currently soaking up the sun as a Florida girl. She suffers from a bad case of wanderlust and usually ends up moving someplace new every few years. Luckily, her two dogs and ginormous cat are excellent travel buddies.

When she’s not writing about hunky military heroes, Tonya can be found at a bookstore or the dog park. She also enjoys painting, watching movies, and her daily barre workouts. A geek at heart, she pledges her TV fandom to Supernatural and Dr. Who.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | Pinterest | GoodReads

 

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4 Chances to win e books from Tonya’s back list and a grand prize of signed copies of Seal of Honor, Honor Reclaimed, and Vision of Darkness!

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New Release: One Night In Close Exposure by Ashley C. Harris *Excerpt and Giveaway*

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One Night In Close Exposure
by Ashley C. Harris

A New Adult Romance
Released February 23rd 2015

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Beth, in another life, was a top student and had nothing but visions of a successful career in her head. That was until one night with Sterling Johnson, the sexy and deceitful swim champion next door, who changed her entire future. Now, because of that night from her past, Beth’s path as a photographer is forever changed. Gone is the young women she used to be as she struggles to keep a secret hidden.

Sterling Johnson, on the other hand, has quickly become America’s favorite Olympic athlete. Constantly followed and stalked by the press and the father he has turned his back on, Sterling craves someone who isn’t interested in his celebrity.

When a publicity stunt takes him back to a wild college campus and Beth, who turns out to be the media photographer assigned to his story, the flame he thought was dead rekindles. Will Beth prove to be the only girl not interested in his celebrity status? Or are her own twisted secrets and lies about to bring both their worlds down?

 

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Excerpt

“Beth, you need to go … ” is what her mom had told her repeatedly all week long the moment there was breaking news that Sterling Johnson, and a whole slew of other Olympic athletes, were flying into Beth’s city for the governor’s honorary ball. Beth knew her mom was right, what other chance would she get to talk to Sterling at this point, especially now that he had actually broken a new world record and joined the U.S.A. Olympic team? The answer was none.

Too many people had begun calling him the minute his Olympic swimming status was announced on a national level, which is why he must have switched numbers, breaking off the possibility of Beth getting ahold of him again. Well, not all possibility, but the truth was she hadn’t ever wanted to face him after their one steamy night that had ended so wrong. But now, just as Sterling’s stellar Olympic news was announced, she had learned her own life stopping drama. In fact, she was pretty sure her life was over as she imagined her dreams and aspirations suddenly crashing to the floor. Oh God, how can this really be happening to me? How can I do this, Lord?

She entered the ballroom with waves of hot nausea assaulting her. Smells of seafood and other appetizers were making her stomach turn in the worst possible way. Of course, her stomach had been turning for two and a half months now; she just hadn’t realized it was morning sickness until it was too late. I’ve been so foolish …

There was a big yellow taped off area where media was not allowed to pass and yet Beth stood at the very edge of it with her photography media badge, looking. Would she be able to get Sterling’s attention ahead of time before the speeches came? A bodyguard warned her with his stern eyes not to dare take a step further and trip up the rope.

Nervous energy caused her to tremble at the thought of speaking to Sterling now, looking upon his tall height and too ripped abs, ripped in a way that made him this next generation’s newest Michael Phelps and Michael Lochte rolled into one. Young fans posted statuses on the web that Sterling’s face was far more handsome, far more perfect, than any swimmer before him. His photos had been spread across all the papers, capturing his best angles. Beth had to admit, it seemed like they were right.

If only everyone knew the true man and his motives under that swim cap.

 

 

The Heated Snapshots series

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About Ashley C. Harris

Author and film director Ashley C. Harris resides in Florida. Ashley was first recognized for her edgy writing and unique film work when she wrote and directed the teenage film Lines. Lines was the first feature film in the world captured using only Mac Laptops.

In 2013 Ashley teamed up with Barclay Publicity to release the first title in a new young adult series Shock Me. Ashley then went on to release the first of a new NA series, One Night in Heated Snapshots, that quickly reached Amazon’s Best Selling top ten list for sports romances.

When she is not dreaming up new books and working on film sets, she loves to spend time with her friends and family.

Keep a close watch for Ashley’s newest young adult books releases!

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New Release: Surf & Surrender (Summer Love Series #2) by Riley Edgewood *Excerpt, Playlist and Giveaway*

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Surf & Surrender (Summer Love Series #2)
by Riley Edgewood

A New Adult Romance
Released February 23rd 2015

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She wants to forget he ever existed. He’d never give up her memory.

Quinn Westwood is completely over Sawyer Carson. He broke her heart years ago and disappeared from her life without a word. So yeah. She’s over him. Never even thinks of him. In fact, she’s spending her college summer break surfing and lifeguarding in the Outer Banks, while nursing a bruised heart from a different relationship gone wrong. She doesn’t have room in her mind or heart for Sawyer—until she runs into him at a beach bonfire and the sparks that fly between them are way hotter than the flames heating the sand.

Sawyer never got over Quinn. The only thing stronger than what he feels for her is the secret keeping them apart, but sharing it would destroy more than just his life—it’d ruin hers, as well. Still, he can’t seem to keep away from her, can’t seem to keep his hands off of her soft, tempting skin. Especially since she has even less self-control when it comes to reigniting the physical side of what made them perfect together.

But secrets have a way of slipping out, and when Sawyer’s is revealed it threatens to shatter everyone involved. He’ll have to face walking away a second time, and Quinn will have to decide if fighting for him is worth it when the fallout could affect more than just her heart, but also those of the people she loves most.

Surf & Surrender is the second book in Riley Edgewood’s Summer Love series, but can be read as a stand-alone novel.

 

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Excerpt

Lay off me.” My brother fights my grip, but I’ve got two inches and thirty pounds on him. Plus, I’m sober. And pissed.

I push his face closer to the stuff that’s already permeating through my entire car. “What did I tell you about throwing up in here?”

He’s really grappling against me now. And I’m really not budging.

“Let me go and I’ll tell you about Quinn.”

This—the shock jolting my system—loosens my grip more than anything else could. “What?”

He turns his face sideways to look up at me. I give him that much leeway. Because I’m still not sure I heard him right. Then he says, “I saw Quinn.”

Fragments of memories barrel through my mind so fast I almost lose my breath.

Long, slender fingers tracing hearts against my callused palms. A white daisy tucked into hair that’s brown like autumn and windblown and trailing down her back for miles.

The somehow both sweet and rough scents of salt water and sand. Laughter like sea glass wind chimes spinning in the breeze.

I want to ask where? How? When?

I want to crack his skull open and climb into his memory to see her again.

I rub my face with my free hand to wipe it all away. “Goddamn it, Jess. She’s the one person I told you we couldn’t see if we came back.”

“Two,” he slurs, squirming on his knees. “Two people.”

It’s true. But she’s the only one who matters. The only one who ever has.

Quinn.

Jesus. Just her name in my brain is enough to make my gut jump.

So I let go of Jess’s neck.

He face-plants into his own puke and comes up spitting, swearing. I shrug and try not to laugh at the horror in his expression. It’s hard. Which means I’m out of the grip of the past. “You wanted me to let you go, so I did.”

“You’re such a dick.”

I can’t deny it. Instead, I grab a beach towel from the backseat and let him use it to wipe off his face—and then my car. He gags the entire time, and nothing could bring me more pleasure.

“How’d she look?” I ask a few minutes and miles later. I don’t expect an answer. The kid’s eyes are closed so hard they look swollen.

“Skinny,” he slurs. “Stupid.”

“You sure you weren’t just looking in a mirror?”

He mumbles something I’m pretty sure is, “Fuck you,” but I let it slide because I’m remembering in more than just splinters of snapshots. More than a hand or a laugh. Quinn.

Skinny? Maybe. She’s always been slight.

Stupid? Not a chance in hell.

One of us would’ve run into her sooner or later. The Outer Banks is a big area, but the spots locals prefer are few. I’m surprised it’s taken the two months it has.

Thing is, though, if it happened to Jess, then statistically my chances seem smaller now. “Goddamn it, Jess.”

But he’s snoring. And I shouldn’t be asking about her anyhow.

I spend the rest of the ride trying to figure out how to get the smell out of my car—and quick, because I have a fucking date tonight.

 

Young sexy couple in an exotic hotel garden, about to kiss.

 

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About the Author

Riley_Edgewood_Headshot_FinalSize blog

Riley lives in the DC area and spends most of her time with her characters, playing with her toddler and husband, and pretending she knows how to be an adult. Former dancer. Current writer. Lifelong lover of accessories, books, and the beach. And cats. Can’t forget the kitties. Of which she has two.

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Spotlight: HORNET Series by Tonya Burrows *Series Review*

HORNET

HORNET Series
by Tonya Burrows

A Suspenseful Romance Series
From Entangled–Select

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HORNET
Humint, Inc.’S Hostage Rescue & Negotiation Team

A misfit group of former Special Ops soldiers, CIA operatives & FBI Agents form a private hostage rescue team to bring home the missing people nobody else wants to look for–that is, if they manage not to kill each other first.

With each new mission, the men will discover the power of love, the meaning of brotherhood, and the honor that is sometimes found in unusual places.

 

sealofhonorSEAL of Honor (HORNET, #1)4 stars

It’s a good thing Gabe Bristow lives and breathes the Navy SEAL credo, “the only easy day was yesterday,” because today, his life is unrecognizable. When his prestigious career comes to a crashing halt, he’s left with a bum leg and few prospects for employment that don’t include a desk.

That is, until he’s offered the chance to command a private hostage rescue team and free a wealthy American businessman from Colombian paramilitary rebels. It seems like a good deal—until he meets his new team: a drunk Cajun linguist, a boy-genius CIA threat analyst, an FBI negotiator with mob ties, a cowboy medic, and an EOD expert as volatile as the bombs he defuses. Oh, and who could forget the sexy, frustratingly impulsive Audrey Van Amee? She’s determined to help rescue her brother—or drive Gabe crazy. Whichever comes first. As the death toll rises, Gabe’s team of delinquents must figure out how to work together long enough to save the day. Or, at least, not get themselves killed.Because Gabe’s finally found something worth living for, and God help him if he can’t bring her brother back alive.

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honorreclaimedHonor Reclaimed (HORNET, #2)
5-stars

Former Marine sniper Seth Harlan is determined to prove that he can still do his job despite his ongoing battle with PTSD. When an old friend contacts HORNET to rescue a black ops soldier, Seth’s stability is strained. He knows all too well what it’s like to rot inside an enemy camp, praying for rescue and waiting for death. And he’s not about to leave a man behind.

Photojournalist Phoebe Leighton just stumbled into the middle of an arms deal. Teaming up with a ragtag team of mercenaries is the last thing she wants to do—especially when she realizes Seth Harlan is assigned to the mission. He may ignite a passion in her she thought long dead, but Phoebe’s hiding a secret that could destroy him.

With a bomb in the mix, HORNET’s mission is suddenly about a lot more than an abandoned soldier. Racing against the clock, Seth, Phoebe, and the rest of the team struggle to stop a ruthless warlord bent on power, revenge…and death.

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Series Review

In SEAL of Honor we get to meet the men who will be part of the HORNET team. They are a bunch of handsome, brooding, alpha males that carry with them a great deal of mystery–and issues.

This was the first book I’ve read by this author and I admit that I was impressed. In my experience, the first book in a series sets the tone for the upcoming books and Tonya Burrows’ first book in the HORNET series does a great job of it. I imagine it’s not an easy feat to establish a cast of characters and the world they’ll be interacting in, creating an interesting plot and adding a viable romance on top of every thing else. Thankfully SEAL of Honor delivered in every aspect.

This is Gabe’s story. As an ex-SEAL who had to abandon his career because of an injury, Gabe battles between leading a team of operatives that behave like children and seeing their first mission through. Adding to the chaos is the presence of the victim’s sister–a feisty, care-free artist that pushes every single one of Gabe’s buttons.

Gabe was a great character to get to know if a little exasperating at times. He was stubborn, broody and emotionally withdrawn. And then Audrey comes into his life to add to his conflicting emotions and the already messy mission. I loved it! He was a mess of a man while he fought his attraction for Audrey, dealt with his condition and the frustration it brought about plus tried to manage a group of operatives and their tantrums.

I found Aubrey to be a breath of fresh air and the perfect partner for Gabe. I liked that she gave as good as she got. She stood up for herself and her need to find her brother and actually played a great part in the mission itself. Although she never let Gabe get away with his moody attitude she was certain of his ability to get the mission done. She was supportive, caring and stepped up to the plate when needed.

Of course, their chemistry jumped off the page and it only increased the longer they fought their attraction. It was a treat to see them all hot and bothered and denying themselves. And it was even a greater treat once they came to their senses and gave into their attraction. 😉

As with any first book in a series, there is a lot going on. There is the cast of characters that will take part in the upcoming books along with the twists and turns that make up the plot. I found the characters to as complex as they were sexy. With their unique personalities and abilities each one of them brought something different to the story. There was humor, bickering and an abundance of testosterone. I wanted more!

When the chance came to catch up with the guys in Honor Reclaimed, I jumped at it. Initially, I didn’t know what to expect because Seth hadn’t been introduced in the previous book. But his story was touched upon when Gabe and Travis were considering him as an addition to the team, so I was intrigued.

Within a few pages, I knew I loved him and by the end of the book he became my favorite member of the team.

Seth suffered through a terrible ordeal that left him withdrawn and with a bad case of PTSD. Something he battles every day and something he must learn to live with if he’s accepted as a team member. His story in that respect is one long-drawn test. His actions, reactions and moods are scrutinized by the members of the team which only serve to make him even more withdrawn.

Then in comes Phoebe. She knows who Seth is and what he went through all too well and she’s not looking forward to him finding out her real identity. Although it took me a while to warm up to her (hey, I have to look out for my Seth!), I came to like her as the story progressed. Mainly because she stood up for him and never treated him as if he was broken. She understood what he went through, but was able to see beyond the hurt, guilt-ridden and traumatized soldier to the strong, determined man Seth truly was.

Tracy Burrows once again brings forth an intriguing plot mixed in with action-packed scenes, humor from the peanut gallery and plenty of tension between all characters. That’s not even touching on the romance and how that developed. Although the attraction between Phoebe and Seth was always present, their romance was slow in coming. The anticipation was killing me but that first kiss was well worth my exasperation! And once emotions came into play…*sigh*

This time around Tracy Burrows take us to Afghanistan for a rescue mission. And as expected this only brings a clusterf*ck of problems. Who can they trust once there? How will the team work together with Seth as a new member? How will Seth react in that environment? All these questions were running around in my head and I’m glad to say that everything was presented, established and wrapped up very well. The pace was a perfect mix of slow and fast depending on the events that were taking place and the resolution of the conflict was this side of believable. As for the romance, I have to say that the mix of honest interactions, great chemistry and range in emotions in both characters helped me to cheer them on. Of course, I would have loved to smack some sense into them, but it wasn’t feasible at the time.

As a reader of the genre, I can say for certain that the HORNET series is a must read. Each story has the right mix of elements I’ve come to expect from the genre–a riverting storyline, action-packed scenes and a believable romance between the main characters.

* I received a copy of these titles in exchange of my honest review.

 

About the Author

Tonya Burrows.633x882

Tonya Burrows wrote her first romance in 8th grade and hasn’t put down her pen since. Originally from a small town in Western New York, she’s currently soaking up the sun as a Florida girl. She suffers from a bad case of wanderlust and usually ends up moving someplace new every few years. Luckily, her two dogs and ginormous cat are excellent travel buddies.

When she’s not writing about hunky military heroes, Tonya can be found at a bookstore or the dog park. She also enjoys painting, watching movies, and her daily barre workouts. A geek at heart, she pledges her TV fandom to Supernatural and Dr. Who.

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Tour: Stupid Boy (Stupid in Love #2) by Cindy Miles *Review and Giveaway*

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Stupid Boy (Stupid in Love #2)
by Cindy Miles

A New Adult Novel
Released February 17th 2015

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From Cindy Miles, bestselling new adult author of STUPID GIRL, comes the next installment of her blockbuster Stupid in Love series – STUPID BOY.

Brax Jenkins and Olivia Beaumont are the most envied couple at Winston University—but the so-called “virginity dare,” orchestrated by Brax’s old fraternity, almost tore them apart. Now, a new dare is taking shape, and it’s sure to set emotions ablaze–more than ever before.

Winston’s “It Girl” Harper Belle isn’t just president of the Deltas–she’s also a master at keeping her ugly past a secret. So, when the Kappas’ dare hits closer to home for her more than anyone realizes, she devises a competition of her own as payback. Three sorority sisters will seek out a notorious womanizer on campus and–unbeknownst their “mark”–secretly train him to be the perfect boyfriend. Always up for a challenge, Harper targets the biggest player she can find: Brax’s wickedly handsome foster brother Kane McCarthy.

But, Harper discovers there’s much more to Kane than girls, games, and partying. His easy smile belies the quiet, old soul reflected in his deep brown eyes. All it takes is one night, one secret laid bare, and one kiss from Kane to shift Harper’s world on its axis. Suddenly, the girl who’s always walked a straight and narrow path can’t think of anything else except losing control.

 

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Review

4 stars

Harper lives the perfect life–or so she’s determined to portray. In reality, every day is a struggle to maintain her charade and with every day that passes the strain becomes more noticeable. Especially now that she’s met Kane.

Kane is everything Harper should stay away from, but the very man who makes her face the truth–she can’t go on living the way she has. But he’s no hero either. His presence at Winston is shady and his past is riddled with secrets. But it’s the way he looks at her that threatens Harper’s perfectly constructed life. It’s as if he can see the real Harper and that alone scares the crap out of her.

Kane, Kane, Kane. I have to say congrats to Cindy Miles–she managed to surpass my expectations regarding Kane. When I first found out the story was about him, I didn’t think he would be such a complex character as the one she brought to the page. There were layers upon layers as to who Kane was deep down. There was the bad boy persona he carried so well, the sweet and considerate man he kept hidden from every one and the untrusting young man that expect nothing more than the superficial. He was a mixture of all them wrapped up in a very handsome package.

I liked Harper well enough. But she did get on my nerves more times than I wanted to. Her thought process was messy and at times it got downright exasperating and repetitive. Thankfully the author went out of her way to show how deeply conflicted she was about her situation. Not only about the lie her life had become but also how she was going to go about fixing it.

These two had some major trust issues to get over so their connection was something that developed slowly. This isn’t to say that the attraction wasn’t immediate because these two had major sparks between them. But I came to appreciate the passing looks they shared, their casual meetings and their hesitant conversations. Hell, I even enjoyed their shared silences. It went to show how alike they were in keeping people at bay.

All in all, a sweet yet intense romance between two individuals who finally let go and allow themselves the chance for something more in their life–friendship, love and that elusive emotion known as happiness.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Stupid in Love Series

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Stupid Girl (Stupid in Love #1)
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About the Author

Cindy

National bestselling author Cindy Miles writes edgy romance, ranging from contemporary love stories to sexy paranormals. A native of southern coastal Georgia, she loves reading (naturally), baking swoon-worthy desserts, traveling abroad, yoga, and classic rock. The cover for her upcoming New Adult romance, STUPID GIRL, was featured on USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog. In the novel, a volatile mix of bad boys, sassy smart girls, dark secrets, and red-hot romance add up to one wild ride through college.

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Tour: Between by Clarissa Johal *Q&A, Excerpt and Giveaway*

Between

Between
by Clarissa Johal

A Paranormal Novel
From Musa Publishing

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How far would you go to redeem yourself?

As a young girl, Lucinda was able to see spirits, a gift that didn’t come without its problems. Now, a dedicated young veterinarian, she is committed to the idea that every life can be saved.

After a devastating accident, Lucinda tries to escape her past by moving to a small town. There, she meets a newcomer and feels an immediate connection with him. But there is another mysterious stranger to the small town, one that stirs within her a mixture of unease and desire.

As Lucinda is drawn into a bitter tug-a-war from the forces around her, she is likewise pulled into a dangerous twist of past and present events. Forced to make difficult choices, she finds that the two men are locked in not only a battle for her life…but a battle for their salvation.

 

Second Place – Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
Clarissa Johal’s novel BETWEEN is a “haunting” paranormal novel that will have you on the edge of your seat!

 

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Q&A with Clarissa

How did you come up with the idea for BETWEEN?

Three years ago, I was working on a sequel to a fantasy novel when I had this weird “calling.” Two characters came to me in a rush; Lucas and Cronan from BETWEEN. They weren’t fantasy characters nor they didn’t fit into what I was writing but they wouldn’t go away. I kept setting them aside but they’d come back, stronger than ever. I put the fantasy sequel on hold, wrote non-stop for a month, and finished the first draft. That never happens! It usually takes me months to finish a first draft. A year later, my edits were finished, and two months later, BETWEEN was picked up by Musa Publishing. I’ve got my feet firmly planted in the Otherworld now, the ideas come faster than I can write them down.

What first inspired you to become a writer? And what compels you to continue your career as an author?

I wrote my first short story in grade six. I was asked by the teacher to read it aloud to the class, which terrified me. After I was finished, I realized that I actually had everyone’s attention! I was shy and we moved every year, so I was always the new kid. When you’re in that situation, it’s kind of like being invisible. Finding my voice through story-telling made me realize how powerful writing could be. As far as continuing—truthfully? I think I’d go nuts if I didn’t write.

What made you choose the genre of paranormal gothic horror?

I started out writing fantasy fiction. I was working on the second installment to my PRADEE series when there were two characters that kept showing up on the page, over and over. They didn’t belong in fantasy novel, nor did they belong in my story! But their backstory came to me so vividly, that I set aside my series and wrote my first paranormal novel, BETWEEN. I’ve been pulled into the Otherworld permanently now. The ideas come faster than I can write them down.

 

Excerpt

Lucinda rode her bicycle home, heeding a sudden pull to take an alternate route. The wind scraped her cheeks as she rode on, lost in thought. Past the edge of town, she hit fields and found herself veering down a dirt foot path which led toward an old church. Crows took off from the surrounding fields, complaining loudly of the intrusion.

The one-room church stood alone. White-washed and peeling, the building was flanked by a small, forgotten graveyard. A single tree reached out with dead branches, sheltering the gravestones from the light. Circling the graveyard was a rusted, wrought-iron fence. The gate sagged on its hinges and squeaked quietly in the breeze.

Leaning the bicycle against the graveyard fence, Lucinda walked up the church’s rickety, wooden steps and checked the rusty door knob. Finding the door to be open, she walked in. The door shut quietly behind her, shrouding the room in silence.

From the corners of her eyes, Lucinda saw spirits scatter.

Walking slowly down the middle aisle, she passed the wooden pews, one by one. Stained-glass windows stared down like eyes over the pulpit. Ablaze with the light from the setting sun, the windows cast shades of scarlet and crimson across her skin.

As a child, Lucinda had attended church with her parents. Every Sunday, they had gone out of a sense of routine or faith — she wasn’t sure which. It was a routine that she hadn’t continued. Any remnants of her faith had died after the accident.

Movement continued in her peripheral vision. It was only a matter of time before they would grow insistent. Lucinda sat in the front pew, hands clenched into fists. Theonly sounds she heard were her breath and heartbeat, counting out the mortal seconds. She sat in the stillness, ignoring the activity around her. She had no idea how much time had passed before she finally stood to leave.

Once outside, Lucinda saw that twilight had fallen over the area. Still lost in thought, she walked over to her bicycle and placed her hands upon the cold handlebars. She had entered the church to do something — something she felt was important. Had she done it? In her heart, she felt unsure.

An almost inaudible sigh broke the silence. Startled from her reverie, Lucinda was surprised to see a dark form standing in the graveyard, head bowed.

“Cronan?”

Cronan looked up. His face seemed to be contorted in grief. As she walked through the gate and into the graveyard, she realized she must have imagined it. The mocking smile was there, as usual.

“Fancy you here.”

“My friend is in the hospital. I came here…” She looked away, uncertain.

“To pray?”

She let her gaze wander over to the forgotten church.

“Did it help?”

Lucinda frowned. “What are you doing here?”

“I am here—” he paused as he ran a hand along the top of a headstone “—to visit the dead, of course.”

Lucinda narrowed her eyes at him in disbelief.

Cronan returned her look, unflinching. His dark coat stood in stark contrast against his pale skin. “Was your friend hurt badly?”

“Yes, she was. Is. I’m worried about her.” She took in the gravestones and shuddered. “She was in a car accident.”

A chilly breeze blew through the clearing, causing Cronan’s coat to flap behind him like dark wings. The breeze pushed the dead, wet leaves aside that had collected between the headstones. Crows cawed in the distance.

“Can I ask you a question?”

He raised an eyebrow.

Lucinda hesitated. “My friend. Marny. The one in the hospital. She said she heard whispering before she crashed. She was the only one in the car. What do you think about that?”

“I think that if she heard whispering, then that is what she heard.” He studied her thoughtfully. “There are many things in the world we do not understand. That does not mean they do not exist.” He took a step toward her and took her hands,intertwining his fingers within hers as if in prayer. “Is that not what faith is based upon?”

She shivered involuntarily and pulled away, dropping her gaze to the ground. “Can I ask you another question?”

“Ask.”

“You saw that woman on the cliff.”

“Yes.”

“She’s…”

“Dead?”

Lucinda nodded wordlessly.

“As I said, there are many things in this world that we do not understand.”

She turned away from him, pondering the faces of the headstones reflecting the dying light. The names had long ago been weathered and forgotten. “I know what I see. I don’t know what I believe.” She sighed. “I mean, I always thought it was just me.”

“Just you?”

“That sees them. I usually only see people I’ve known. Or animals. I don’t know why I see that woman on the cliff.”

Cronan moved in closer behind her. “Death exists whether people see it or not,” he murmured.

“I understand that. And I know that some spirits—” the words caught in her throat “— get stuck. Like in churches, and graveyards. They seem so empty.”

“Ah, that is where you are mistaken. They are not empty. They are full.”

She turned to him. “Full?” She stepped back, putting some space between them.

“Yes,” Cronan replied. “Full of rage, fear, confusion, loneliness.”

“Loneli— nobody wants to feel those things, Cronan.” Lucinda frowned. “Especially after you’re—”

“Dead?”

“Yes.” She was quiet for a moment, listening to the wind blowing across the fields. Her thoughts wandered. Looking up, she was startled to see him scrutinizing her. Lucinda flushed. “I have to go.”

Pushing past him, she exited the graveyard and made a grab for her bicycle. A small rustle off to her side caught her attention. “Oh!” Lucinda bent down. Naked and helpless, a baby brush rabbit lay in a cluster of grass. Its eyes were closed and its breathing labored.

Cronan peered over the fence. “Nature’s plan. I am sure the crows will take care of it.”

Lucinda looked up at him, shocked. “That’s a terrible thing to say, Cronan!” She ran her hands over the baby rabbit. “It looks like a cat got him or something. Teeth marks here and on the other side. He’s cold.” She picked the rabbit up carefully.

Cronan studied her quietly, running his thumb along one of the wrought iron spikes that topped the graveyard fence.

She looked across the silent fields. “We must have scared it off, what- ever it was.”

“And now it waits for its prize.” Ignoring him, she cradled the rabbit in her hands, trying to warm it.

“All life depends on death. It is hopeless, Lucinda.” His eyes flickered over her. “It will die.”

“I’m not letting that happen, Cronan,” Lucinda replied firmly. She unbuttoned her coat and rolled the baby rabbit up in the bottom of her T-shirt. “Everything can be saved.”

“Everything?” Cronan replied solemnly. “I have my doubts about that.”

“Well I don’t.” She set her jaw stubbornly. “I’m taking him back to the hospital. I can save him.” She carefully buttoned her coat and took her bicycle by the handlebars.

Cronan watched as she walked with determination across the empty fields. As he watched her, his hands gripped the iron fence, emotions warring within him.

 

 

About the Author

Clarissa Johal

Clarissa Johal has worked as a veterinary assistant, zoo-keeper aide and vegetarian chef. Writing has always been her passion. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing or taking photographs of gargoyles. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters and every stray animal that darkens the doorstep. One day, she expects that a wayward troll will wander into her yard, but that hasn’t happened yet.

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Spotlight: The Charm by Jojo Debrazza *Giveaway*

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The Charm
by Jojo Debrazza

A YA Dystopian Novella
From Musa Publishing
Released December 25th 2014

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Extraordinary powers come with a price.

Fifteen year old Luca has the charm, a gift he inherited from his mum. Charmers can control minds, but they abide by a code—to only use the power for good, and only with the person’s permission. Luca knows breaking the code is wrong, and his mum would kill him if he tried!

But when a rogue charmer uses the power for criminal means, the Restorative government jumps in. Luca’s mum is imprisoned and the Register for Charmers is announced. The media creates a frenzy of fear and suspicion against charmers.

Believing the family is in peril, and wishing to keep Luca’s gift a secret, Luca’s dad takes them to stay with a friend in the country. Here, Luca meets Fee, a computer genius who can hack into anything. Fee introduces Luca to an underground rebellion group of internet hackers who have their own issues with the Restoratives and their own way of protesting.

Fearful of how the Restoratives are treating his mum in prison and concerned about their motives for creating the Register of Charmers, Luca must make an impossible choice—break the rules and use his gift or stand by and watch as the power is abused.

 

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About the Author

Jojo Debrazza

Jojo Debrazza is a writer of young adult and children’s fiction. The Charm is her debut YA novella.

Jojo has a vivid imagination and likes to make up stories. Her friends call it lying but she calls it writing. She lives mainly in a dream world with her partner and a house full of small furry animals. It’s a carefree happy place where everything is bright and fluffy.

Jojo’s other passion is football (soccer). As well as playing and helping to run a club, she works as a football development officer in Cambridgeshire, England.

Find Jojo on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jojodebrazza

 

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