Saturday, July 22, 2017
























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Matthew

Drafted first round pick when I was seventeen, playing first line at eighteen, branded NHL's bad boy at nineteen. At twenty-three I was cut from the team and living back home with my parents. A knock on the door brought an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. All I had to do was prove I learned from my mistakes, so no way would I fall for a chick with a pouty mouth even if I wanted to spend all day devouring it.

Karrie

When my father gave me a job, I had no idea it would be to babysit some washed up NHL player. He wanted me to be his chaperone, his overpaid babysitter. I thought it was a joke. Then I met him, Matthew Grant. I wasn’t prepared for this particular bad boy. He’s not only hot but he’s arrogant and kinda sweet in a 'you make me crazy' kind of way.
Basically now that he’s finished screwing up his life, he’s decided to turn mine upside down.


She’s the first thing I’ve ever wanted more than hockey.

He’s the guy I know I should stay away from.

But what if this thing that started out so wrong turns into something so perfect?


























   Matthew Cooper Stone is my stepfather, the Cooper Stone who’s the best person to ever skate. He holds every single record that’s out there because he’s just that fucking good.
   “What the fuck are you doing?”
   I didn’t even have a chance to say hello before Cooper’s voice filled the room. I groaned and turned over to see that he was on speakerphone. My finger must have touched it by accident. “Matthew, seriously, I’m one second from flying out there and yanking you off the fucking ice.”
    I was twenty-one and already being benched and scratched.
   I was no chump. I was drafted first over all. The day still played in my mind. “The Los Angeles Royals choose Matthew Grant.” The minute my name was said, I sat there in shock while my little sister was yelling and my mother, Parker, had tears running down her cheeks while her face lit up with happiness and pride. Cooper was the first to grab me and stand me up.
   “Go get that fucking jersey.” His voice was loud in my ear. My mother was next. “I’m so proud of you, Matthew, so, so proud.”
   I kissed her cheek and walked down the stairs toward the stage from where the general manager, the owner, and the coach all looked at me. When I walked on stage, I tried to hold my tears in.
   Taking the owner’s hand in mine, I shook it and thanked him. Putting that jersey on was surreal. Posing for pictures was a blur. I got so drunk that night I don’t remember much, except Cooper having to carry me inside while I pledged my love to my mother, my sister, and the trees around us.
   Usually, once you get drafted, you start off on their farm team, but not me. I was on the starting line. I was up to my ears in silicone. There would be a different girl every night, everyone wanting to get a piece of me. The star of the team. Then my game started to slip. The late nights took a toll on me and my body. Three years later, I was sent down to the farm team. You’d think I would wake up, but no, not me. I just partied harder. I was on the front page of almost every single tabloid magazine that you could think of.
   Every single summer I went back home, spending the time training hard with Cooper riding my ass, promising him that I was out of the party phase, but the minute my feet landed back in L.A., it was back to the booze and the puck bunnies. Another three years later, I was put on wavers. When no one picked me up, I packed up and went back home. For two years, I played hockey at home in charity games, till the GM from the New York Stingers came knocking at my door. Robert Western.
   Cooper, Mom, and I sat down with him. My hands shook with nerves, my legs bouncing with happiness that someone actually wanted me.
  “We want to offer him a one-year contract, with certain rules.” He eyed me and then Cooper. I knew Cooper had called in a favor.
   “What is it?” I asked, holding my breath.
   “Chaperone.”
    I was about to get up and say fuck that when Cooper put his hand on mine and blurted out, “He’ll do it.”
   I looked at him while he glared at me. My mother put a hand on top of her husband’s. United. Always.
   Robert slapped his hands together. “Matthew, you, my friend, are going to bring another cup to New York.” He got up to shake my hand and then Cooper’s, slapping him on the arm. “Who knows, you may also knock this asshole off a throne or two.”
   Cooper laughed out loud, but I knew he would be the one egging me on, the one daring me to push him off. He would also be the first one coming to congratulate me if I ever did it.
   He had come into my life when I’d needed a male figure the most. I just hadn’t known it. He showed me that you can fall in love with your whole heart and everything will fall into place. He showed me that you fight for what you want. But most of all, he showed me that love is a gift and once it’s given, you cherish it.
   So now here I am on the plane getting ready to land in New York. I have to meet the owner of the team and the PR people tomorrow at noon. I scroll through my social media sites while I wait for the doors to open. My sister is tagging me in old photos of us from Mom and Cooper’s wedding. Feels like it was just yesterday. When you see the way Cooper looks at my mother, you know he loves her with all his heart. He would walk to the ends of the earth for her.
   I press the heart emoji on the picture and then hear the ping of the seat belt sign telling us we can stand up. I grab my leather jacket and slide it on, put on my aviators, and grab my leather duffel bag. Walking out of the plane, I nod at the two flight attendants, who both slipped me their numbers. Numbers I left in the side of the seat.
   Fresh start. It’s time to make my parents proud of me. Time to show the world that Matthew Grant is here for good this time.
   On my way to my hotel in Times Square, I look out the window of the yellow cab zigzagging its way through traffic. Nothing in the world beats the cab drivers in New York City. You sit back and hold your breath while you pray to not end up being slammed forward. We reach the W hotel. I swipe my card through the card holder in the back, thanking him. I don’t even have time to close the door before he races off from the curb.
   I enter and check in without having anything to say. The woman at reception starts going through her routine talk. I cut in. “What floor is the gym on?”
   She smiles at me, telling me the information while giving me her private number in case I have any other questions.
   I nod at her and then walk up to my room. It’s the size of a closet. Welcome to New York. I take my phone out to send a text to Cooper.     
   Landed. Going to work out.
   Be good.
   I’m always good.
   Okay, then behave.
   I laugh and throw the phone on the bed, and then get my workout clothes out of the bag. I grab my headphones and make my way to the gym.
   I have texts from Allison, my sister, and Tom, who is married to my aunt Meghan and is an ex-NHLer, wishing me luck. But the one that makes me laugh out loud is from my Aunt Meghan, telling me that my dick won’t fall off if I don’t use it. I’m about to answer her when the elevator beeps, signaling I have arrived at the gym floor.
   I walk to the gym and scan my card so I can get in. Usually, these hotel gyms are almost empty, but not this time. A girl is jogging on the treadmill, but I don’t make eye contact with her.
   Grabbing a towel from the basket in the corner, I walk over to the other treadmill, look down at the buttons, and turn it on.
   I start off slow while Drake fills my ears, but that doesn’t last long before I crank it up and push myself hard. I’m in the best shape of my life, thanks to my mom, Cooper, and Tim. They didn’t let me sit down and drown my sorrows in bonbons and booze. They had my ass skating at the crack of dawn. In the gym pushing and pulling. Meaning I’m the biggest I’ve ever been. My shoulders are wider, my waist leaner, my arms bigger.
   I’m sweating up a storm, so I look over to see if the girl is still running on the treadmill, which is my first mistake. Not only is she next to me running as fast as me, but she’s in a sports bra holding up a perfect set of tits, her stomach bare, her abs defined but looking soft, and her little booty shorts not keeping anything back. She isn’t tall. Her blond hair swings in the air while she’s looking at the iPad she has in front of her. Is she watching the Kardashians? Jesus. She must sense me watching her because she looks over, which is when I feel the earth move under my feet. Her eyes are crystal blue, so blue it’s like I’m looking into the ocean. I almost trip over my own two feet, but I recover and smile at her. I turn my head forward and continue running till my legs feel like they’re going to snap in two.
   Getting off the treadmill, I whip my soaking shirt off and throw it over my shoulder before I grab a water bottle and drain it all. I notice she’s slowing her speed. She shuts off the treadmill, dabbing her face with the towel that she has near her. She takes the water bottle, drinking in a good amount.
   I start to walk out of the room when she gets off the treadmill. I stop right before we collide with each other, then put out my hand, giving her the right of way.
   “Thanks,” she says, her voice soft, sweet, pure.
   Following her out, I watch her ass swing in front of me. I don’t even notice she stops and I crash into her, grabbing her shoulders and making sure she doesn’t fall on her face because I was staring at her ass. “I’m sorry, I was…” I’m sure I don’t have to say anything to her because my cock is nestled in her back.
   She shrugs my hands off her shoulders while she presses the elevator button. We stand here not saying anything while we wait. What can you say? Sorry my dick poked your back? Sorry I was watching your sweet ass instead of watching where I was going? Silence is golden right now.
   When the elevator arrives, I wait for her to walk in before entering and see that we are on the same floor. Great. The ride lasts no longer than a second before the door opens and she sprints out, away from the crazy pervert who poked his dick into her back. I head to my door and see she’s in the room right next to mine. I want to say something, anything, but by the time I look up, she’s already in the safety of her own room.  
















When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her...

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On the run… Hunted… by the man she once gave her heart to.

Outlawed noblewoman Jaida’s been everything from a high speed courier on Arcalis Prime to a waitress in the cloud café’s on Selenis. Different careers, different names, different identities. When a cover got easy–so easy she started to believe it herself–she knew she’d been in the same place too long and it was time to move on. Before she got comfortable and started to make mistakes. Mistakes would allow Imperial Prince Seth to find her, and if that happened, people would die…

But after five years, Seth has found her, and she can no longer outrun her destiny: she’ll be the prince’s courtesan, but he’ll never own her heart…

He wanted the one woman he couldn’t have…

Five years ago he thought he’d found his princess, the woman he wanted to be his bride and rule alongside him. But instead of accepting his betrothal bracelet, she refused him and ran. Unable to let the insult lie, he’s chased her ever since. Now he finally has her, captured while working on the docks and he can finally get his revenge on the woman who spurned him. The woman he can’t get out of his head. He’ll make her his courtesan and get her out of his system for good…

But all is not as it seems, and the truth he thought he knew turns out to be a lie. When Jaida’s life is threatened by a hidden enemy, can Seth see through the lies in time to save her… or will he lose everything to deceit?

**Please note - This title has previously been released with another publisher and has not been revised or altered significantly.**




























 
Move that fucking piece of shit… Yeah, I’m talking to you buddy. Sheesh, some people really need to learn to drive.”
Jaida slumped back into the harness of her power loader and concentrated on transferring the load she was carrying from the open cargo hold in front of her to the anti-grav pallets beside it. She grumbled under her breath as she worked. Today was not a good day. The idiot-factor was so high she was virtually swimming in them.
She shook her head, her dark hair dancing about her shoulders, and issued another curse directed at idiots who wanted to load high and drive fast. Yeah, she was just as interested in her weekly bonus as anyone else, but there was no way she was risking a safety fine. Especially not when her rent was due.
She moved smoothly, arms and legs activating the sensor plates in the bi-pedal loader as she transferred her load container by container. A tired sigh escaped her lips as the last one slid into place with a heavy clunk-click. The red light on the side of the full pallet flicked to green and it moved away on automatic, a fresh one sliding into place in front of her.
“Hey chica, almost quittin’ time… You working overtime?”
Jaida turned at the voice, the feet of the loader clunking against the deck plating until she could see the voice’s owner. Felis, the only other woman on the team, smiled back at her through her front screen.
Jaida rolled her shoulders to ease the ache creeping across them. “Yeah, I am. Could do with the extra cash, and you know what’ll happen if the Galess shipment doesn’t get offloaded in good time. Hicks’ll pitch a hissy fit, and tomorrow will be down the shitter before we start.”
She smothered a sigh at her language, automatically coarse to match her cover identity. She’d been everything from a high-speed courier on Arcalis Prime to a waitress in the cloud cafés on Selenis. Different careers, different names, different identities. When a cover got this complete and easy, so easy she started to believe in it herself, she knew she’d been in the same place too long.
It was time to move on, before she got comfortable and started to make mistakes. Mistakes would allow Seth to find her, and then people would die. They always did. Trouble was she liked Felis and the guys. For the first time in years she felt at home. If a wanted woman could relax enough to feel at home anywhere.
“Jai! Boss wants to see you in the office.”
Another voice interrupted their conversation. Both loaders turned at the heavy clump-whirr-clump of an approaching crane-lifter. Jaida hid her shudder as the driver leered at them. All the women on the docks knew about Hanrahan—they’d all been subjected to his sexist and suggestive comments.
“Hey Jai, you want a hand getting out of that tin can? Perhaps a little bit of a rubdown?”
“No thanks Han, I might catch something.” She turned away in a whir of mechanics, rolling her eyes as she passed Felis. “Best see what the boss man wants. Catch you tomorrow if I’m not out before you leave.”
“Okay, good luck sweets. Mood he’s been in, you may need it.”

































Mina was born and raised in the East Farthing of Middle Earth (otherwise known as the Midlands, England) and spend her childhood learning all the sorts of things generally required of a professional adventurer. Able to ride, box, shoot, make and read maps, make chainmail and use a broadsword (with varying degrees of efficiency) she was disgusted to find that adventuring is not considered a suitable occupation these days.

So, instead of slaying dragons and hunting vampires and the like, Mina spends her days writing about hot shifters, government conspiracies and vampire lords with more than their fair share of RAWR. Turns out wanna-be adventurers have quite the turn of imagination after all...

(But she keeps that sword sharp, just in case the writing career is just a dream and she really *is* an adventurer.)

The boring part: A full time author and cover artist, Mina can usually be found hunched over a keyboard or graphics tablet, frantically trying to get the images and words in her head out and onto the screen before they drive her mad. She's addicted to coffee and would like to be addicted to chocolate, but unfortunately chocolate dislikes her.


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  Title: Shadow of the Rose
Series: The Black Rose Guard Series #4
By: K.L. Bone
Publication Date: July 10, 2017
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Gothic Romance
Cover Designer: Skyla Dawn Cameron
#shadowoftherosetour
If you stay with the Lorcan Guard, you will honor your original vow, it is true. But you shall remain forever a shadow of the rose… For as long as she could remember, Sarah had wanted to be a knight. One fated evening, a man with dark eyes appeared at her mother’s modest inn, and told her a story of love, loss, loyalty, honor, and a life of which Sarah had only dreamed. Devastated when the man is condemned to the dungeons by her own father, Sarah was told she would never see him again. She safeguarded his story, and secrets, resigned to them forever being the treasures of her imagination. More than twenty years later, he reappears, offering Sarah an opportunity beyond her wildest dreams. A half-mortal, illegitimate child of a lesser court, Sarah’s struggle only begins with leaving all she has known. Her hope for a better future, amid the prejudice of those who look down upon her tainted blood, is maintained by a blossoming love, and being personally trained by the court’s captains. An unexpected turn of events gives Sarah an opportunity to change her fate—a position of leadership in the Black Rose Guard. But to accept will mean abandoning both the man she has come to love, and her vow to Captain Edward. Loyalty and desire clash in one woman’s quest to find her place in the immortal guard.

Black Rose - Black Rose Series #1

Heart of the Rose - Black Rose Series #2


 Blood Rose - Black Rose Series #3




K.L. Bone is a bestselling author of dark fantasy. Her works include the bestselling Black Rose Guard dark fantasy series. The Rise of the Temple Gods fantasy series. And a stand-alone science fiction novel, The Indoctrination. Bone has a master’s degree in modern literary cultures and is working toward her PhD in literature. She wrote her first short story at the age of fifteen and grew up with an equally great love of both classical literature and speculative fiction. Bone has spent the last few years as a bit of a world traveler, living in California, London, and most recently, Dublin. When not immersed in words, of her own creation or studies, you’ll find her traveling to mythical sites and Game of Thrones filming locations.
Social Media Links
Twitter - @kl_bone

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  Title: Greener
Series: Escape From Reality #3
By: Erin Lee
Publication Date: July 15, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Cover Designer: Crazy Ink
#greenerblogtour
We all do it.
It’s part of what makes us human. There are names for it – jealousy, envy, and sometimes even greed. We daydream about what someone else has. We convince ourselves that things would be better if we were someone else altogether…The grass is always greener, we believe. Or is it?
For Caroline, being left alone would be everything. She’s had enough of doctors and nurses telling her how to live because of a mistake she made as a kid. The idea of another shrink makes her cringe. Yet, she doesn’t have a choice. Not if she wants to keep living on the outside.
For Nora, being seen would mean the world. It’s been years since she’s had a hot shower without sneaking around but no one notices. No one cares to ask. It’s her job to smile, pretend everything is great and ask them about their days instead. 
And for Dennis, the ability not to care at all would solve his difficulties. If only he could stop worrying about what people thought of him. To live authentically would make things so much easier. He could finally close the door to his past.
Three people with entirely different problems and one thing in common: They are trapped with a need to escape. Ironic, when Escape, Colorado is exactly the place tourists expect to find their own escapes. But then, the tourists are human too…
The grass is always greener.




Caroline
My alarm goes off at 10:21 every day – long after Lori has come and gone. Way past after I know she could be back to bother me. Basically, by the time she’s found other people to bother. I have no idea why I set it this way. I probably figured, close enough. I feel guilty sleeping in past 11 a.m. But, what do I really have to wake up for? Some days, I feel like my mother after James. I don’t have that kind of excuse though. I can’t say that it’s grief. I really don’t know what is wrong with me.
I know I’m depressed. I’ve been through more diagnoses than anyone I know. And I know a lot of crazy people after living at ECH for so long. By the time my alarm goes off, I’ve already been up and back to bed. Every morning, that annoying Lori-witch with her high-pitched laugh comes to wake me to give me my meds. She’s got to be pushing 400 pounds and only wears printed leggings that look like they are going to break at the seams. Still, she has the energy of a ten-year-old – always dancing around and talking about her dogs. “Clean up your house, Caroline. This place is a mess,” she says. “Gotta keep up with your treatment goals! Don’t want anyone thinking you can’t take care of yourself.” Or, “Does Nora know about this? Have you talked to her about your living conditions?” No, but I’m sure you will. And I’m sure she’ll be happy to lecture me. Thanks for asking.
I finally gave her a key to my house so she would cut it out with the doorbell. Before that, she would literally ring it to the tune of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” until I finally answered.
Lovely, huh? I have a stranger in my house—called a Direct Support Provider—who probably steals from me. I try not to think about it because it bothers me. At least she takes me to the grocery store. Most days, I think she actually cares about me. Still, she, and the people she works for, are annoying. They made a back room in my home into a “med” room and it stays locked. I’m not allowed to go in there. Sometimes, Lori disappears for hours “doing paperwork.” (Normally, she sits back there setting up Go-Fund-Me accounts for puppies that didn’t die and don’t need “life-saving” surgeries. Anything for a free ride, but who am I to judge)?
I have no privacy. None. At any time, and for sure twice a day, I have Lori or one of her co-workers here to make sure I take my pills. It has to be this way until I get through the one-year mark and can prove that I’m capable of taking my own medications. These are the things, the frustrations, Nora doesn’t understand. No one tells her how to arrange her house and what to do.
I don’t have to see her today. I’m glad for this. I’m sick of hearing about what I’m not ready for. Maybe that’s because there’s truth to it. Even if Dennis saw me in a romantic way, it’s not like I could bring him home. I can’t see Lori looking fondly on that and, let’s face it, she’d tell Nora.
I drag myself out of bed, stopping to pee and brush my teeth in the bathroom before hitting my final destination – the couch. It sags beneath me, not because I’m heavy, but because I’ve got that couch trained. I sit in the same place all day, every day, until it’s time for appointments. I reach to the edge of the coffee table for my datebook.
People would think I don’t need calendars or a datebook because I really don’t have a life. People would be wrong. Because I’m being watched, I have a list of things I need to do. If I don’t do these things—meet my treatment goals—I’ll be right back where I started on the fourth floor at ECH. Sometimes, the idea of that seems better than journaling about my future goals and plans. Today, on a Tuesday, my datebook reminds me that I have shit to do. Oh my God. Three o’clock! How did I forget? I remind myself to tell Lori the meds are making my brain foggy.

I jump from the couch. Today is Tuesday! Dennis is coming to fix the leak under my sink. I need to clean, shower and get dressed. I toss my datebook to the side. I can write my plan for getting a driver’s license another day. It isn’t due until Friday. Priorities.


Erin Lee is a freelance writer and therapist chasing a crazy dream one crazy story at a time. She is the author of Crazy Like Me, a novel published in 2015 by Savant Books and Publications, Wave to Papa, 2015, by Limitless Publishing, LLC and Nine Lives (2016). She’s also author of Alters, Host, and Merge of the “Lola, Party of Eight Series,” When I’m Dead, Take Me as I Am, and 99 Bottles. She also penned Her Name Was Sam, an LGBTQ awareness novella and Losing Faith, a novella with Black Rose Writing. Lee holds a master’s degree in psychology and works with at-risk families and as a court-appointed special advocate. Lately, she’s been dipping her ink in the horror genre. She looks forward to upcoming releases Once Upon a Vow, Just Things, Jimmie’s Ice Cream and Thing Fifteen. She is a co founder of the Escape From Reality Series with authors Sara Schoen and Taylor Henderson. Erin Lee’s work can be found at: www.authorerinlee.com, on Goodreads under Author Erin Lee, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon and on Twitter at @Crazylikeme2015. *** Support this author’s work and win prizes and free books by joining The Outsiders’ Street Team, a group she shares with authors and fellow Escape From Reality Series founders Sara Schoen and Taylor Henderson at https://www.facebook.com/groups/596733930532264/ *** Greener is Book Three of the Escape From Reality Series. For future books in the series, visit the series page at: https://www.facebook.com/EscapeColorado15/