Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Between the Secrets by S. Ferguson

Release Date: March 16th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Between the Secrets, an all-new MM romance by S. Ferguson is available now!!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00007]
Sometimes the past won’t let you escape no matter how much your future wants you to.
Jake James lives in the shadows of his shame. The guilt for what he’s done, for what was done to him, has left him hollow and haunted.
Greg Bissen just wants Jake to let him in, having accepted who he is a long time ago, he is desperate to break through Jake's defenses.
When danger and an agonizing loss threatens to tear them apart, will Jake let the burdens of his past crush him?
Or can love really conquer all, even if it’s hiding in between the secrets?


I hear a clatter, pulling me out of my own head, as Jake tries to yank the dusty cloth off the stove. That’s enough of that shit. I don’t know if the stove is still connected to the gas and I don’t feel like dying in a giant fireball tonight. Marching up to Jake, I grab his shoulders and try to steer him toward the back door, but he isn’t having it. Spinning around, he puts us chest to chest. I swallow the sudden lump in my throat. Does he know? Of course he doesn’t. The tension between us has been rising to a boiling point. Our chemistry is so much deeper than just friendship. Jake’s walls come down when he drinks, but I have never dared to hope for a moment like this. “There isn’t any food,”Jake pouts, his baby face making him look like an adorable child—a child I want to smack and kiss, in no particular order. I’m tired too and ready to go home. But I know Jake won’t drop his hunt for food. We’ve been down this road before. I sigh in defeat. “I’ll take you to Waffle House,”I whisper. I’ll push aside my tiredness for Jake. I would do almost anything for him. This moment feels intimate, being in the dark alone with him in my arms. It’s pretty much every dream I’ve ever had come true. “Greg…”Jake’s voice trails off. I can just barely see in the dim light, but it looks like his eyes are focused on my lips. “Fuck, don’t look at me like that.”It’s only a half-hearted protest. More of me wants this than not. And that’s the problem. Jake doesn’t speak. He just leans forward and then, after a brief hesitation, pushes his lips to mine. My entire body stiffens, afraid to move. God I hope this isn’t some drunken mistake on his part. My hands lock into their position resting on his shoulders. I’m so nervous I’ll spook him. I know his history, probably better than most. I don’t know if he realizes what he’s doing. I know I’m a bastard for not pushing him away, and despite all these thoughts, about ninety percent of the blood in my body is rushing south. Jake ignores the fact that I’ve frozen on my feet. Slanting his head, his tongue teases my bottom lip, asking me to open up. And I do. Oh my God, I do. He wraps his arms around the back of my neck, pulling us even closer. I can feel I’m not the only one aroused by this, his erection pushing against mine through our dress pants. He moans when he feels my hard-on pushing back, and that’s all I need to thaw. I move my left hand up to the back of his head and take control of the kiss. I don’t even think about it; I lower my right hand to rub him through his pants. Despite the material between us, I can feel how hard he is. I feel the heat coming off of him. He moans long and low into my mouth, thrusting himself into my hand. I curse as I manage to undo his button and fly with one hand, mentally high-fiving myself for the coordination, and reach past the layers of fabric to grip him. He’s just as big as I thought he would be. Smooth skin over something hard enough to hammer nails. I run my hand from his base to tip. I had already known from plenty of times in the men’s room together that he was uncut, but feeling it like this makes me want to do so many dangerous things to him. I wonder how he would feel about me nibbling on… A sudden crash scares the shit out of us. I rip my mouth from Jake’s and we both turn our heads to our left at the same time. Ron is standing in the doorway. Despite the shitty lighting, I can see his heaving chest. His eyes are wide and he's holding his gun. This is not good. This is so not fucking good. BTS-AN

Read Today!

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/ScHUCe

About the Author:

Ferguson is a military wife and mother of three. She loves to find beauty in the flawed and broken.

Connect with the Author:

Twitter: @SarahFergWrites
Stay up to date with S. Ferguson by signing up for her newsletter today:


Today is our stop on the blog tour for Private Reserve by Cathryn Fox. Follow along the tour and grab your copy today!

Private Reserve Cover

About Private Reserve:

Olivia was the best thing that ever happened to me. But she’s a good girl, and I have a side that is far too dark for a minister’s daughter. When she started talking about plans after graduation, the only thing I could do was run back to Italy—to protect her from me. But she’s back in my life, and I need a wife before I can take full ownership of our failing vineyard and hotel. Only problem is, I want her again. No way can I put my hands on her. One kiss, one taste, could unleash the side of me that would only scare her.   If she discovers my dark side, I don’t know if she’ll flee back to the states, or surrender to me. What she doesn’t know is she already owns me, and if she leaves, I’ll never be the same.

Get Your Copy Today:

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon Australia


“What are you doing?” she asks, her gaze briefly dropping to my fingers before dashing upward.

“Getting out of these clothes.” I meet her flickering gaze. “I sleep naked, remember.”

“I remember,” she whispers, her voice so low I have to strain to hear it.

Pink stains her cheeks, making her look so angelic. “I’m sorry,” I say. What the fuck were you thinking, dude? “I’ll keep my clothes on.”

“No. It’s okay.” She waves her hands and then lets them fall to her sides. “This is just so surreal. When I came here, I never thought I’d run into you, or find myself in a fake marriage, sleeping in the honeymoon suite. It’s a lot to take in.”

My heart pinches as I look at her, and all I want to do is go to her, comfort her—tell her how much I fucking love her, how much I want this to be real. But I can’t do that. Not without eventually ruining her. In an effort to lessen her worries, and keep the beast leashed, I point to the chair in the corner. “I can sleep there.”

She wets her bottom lip, and my insides coil tight. That’s one of my biggest turn-ons, that and high heels, and she damn well knows it. I study her. Is it possible that she wants me? That she is going out of her way to seduce me?  

Doesn’t matter. I’m not going there. I can’t.

“It’s not like we haven’t shared a bed,” she says and sinks lower into the mattress, her body writhing and making me bat-shit crazy as she settles herself.

My mind instantly goes back to the times I had her beneath me, and I shift so she doesn’t see the state of my cock. “Yeah, I know. But—”

“Let’s just get some sleep, okay.” She pats the side of the bed. “We’re both adults and know the score.”

She thinks she knows the score? Not fucking likely. The carnal side of me fights not to cross a line, push her past her comfort zone, and show her. But I wrestle that side into submission as I circle the bed.  

“Yeah, okay,” I mumble.

Body hard and tense, I shed the rest of my clothes, all but my shorts. No need to free the beast and make this situation worse. I make a quick trip to the bathroom then slide between the sheets. Liv’s sweet, vanilla scent reaches my nostrils, and I breathe her in then cough to cover the growl rumbling in my throat.

“You okay?”

Okay? Hell no. I’m pretty sure I’ll never be okay again.


“’Kay, G’night.”


I roll, putting my back to her and resist the urge to shove my shorts to my knees and take my cock into my hands. The muscles along my jaw twitch as I clench hard, fighting my natural inclination to touch her. As I will sleep to come, I occupy my mind with the villa and all the changes I want to make to bring it into the twenty-first century and turn the place into a thriving resort. Beside me, Olivia shifts restlessly, and I wish to fuck she’d stop moving, stop reminding me she is there.  

“Gio,” she asks quietly.

Don’t answer. Don’t answer.



About Cathryn Fox:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Cathryn Fox is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Cathryn can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter but loves to spend time writing page-turning books that her readers will love.

Get to Know Cathryn:

Author Website: www.cathrynfox.com

Author Blog: http://www.cathrynfox.com/blog/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/writercatfox

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCathrynFox

Author Street Team/Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FOXYFICTION/

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writercatfox/

Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/catkalen/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/91799.Cathryn_Fox

Newsletter: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/c1f8n1

Enter Cathryn’s Giveaway:

  a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Monday, March 20, 2017


Today is our tour stop for GIRL CODE. Check out this sweet contemporary anthology and grab your copy today!

Girl CodeAbout Girl Code:

Four best friends struggle with decisions that affect their lives, their hearts, and their futures. As sisters, they embrace the Girl Code. HOPE Josephine "Joey" Lockhart escapes her past, herself and her home town of Pearl, Ohio to Florida after high school. Years later, she meets a man that refuses to let her hide behind her camera lens and encourages her out of her shell. Will he be the one to push her to feel for the first time? LIVE After seven years in drug hell, detoxing Juliette "Juls" Carrington returns to her hometown Pearl to attend her grandmother's burial. Once more rejected by her family, she has a swim in a pond nearby when a mysterious camper, an ex-drunk, coaxes her to come to his hut in the woods. Together they must fight their inner demons for a chance to love...and live. FAITH Selena Bodine escaped into the United States Air Force to leave behind a painful past and the one man who she refused to let herself love. Years later, an urgent call from her father brings her back to Pearl, Ohio and face to face with the man she still loves. But will the secret that Cullen is investigating her threaten their second chance? PERSISTENCE Laydi Michaels has been running away from her past and bad memories for years. Finding herself wasn’t an easy task, but she’s managed to finally get to a point to where she wants to be. Only to wake up married to her boss….who fired her the night before. Wrapped in a case that puts her life in danger, and dealing with a grave situation back home in Pearl, Laydi figures out she wasn’t close to finding herself, and now, she’s risked everything. 

Get Your Copy:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Wanted to kiss you

She strolled around the edge of the barn, taking in the beauty of the property. Hundred-year-old oak trees surrounded it, filled in by thousands of slash pines that shaded the various shrubs from the autumn sun. She clicked several shots of the colorful sky and turned the camera on the big red barn, nicked and faded from years of enduring the Florida sun and heat, capturing it from various angles. 
She squatted for a shot. Her cell buzzed in the back pocket of her jeans, indicating an incoming text. Instantly, her pulse kicked in her throat. Perspiration misted her brow. Letting the camera dangle around her neck by the strap, she rubbed her clammy hands on the front of her jeans. 
Should she look at it? It could be one of her “sisters” from back home trying to catch up with her. She hadn’t spoken to any of the girls in over a week. She missed them like crazy.
It could also be her boss, making sure the wedding photography was going off without a hitch.
 Of course, it could be her mother informing her of the results of Daddy’s latest test. After all these years of drinking to the bottom of every whiskey or bourbon bottle he could put his hands on, his liver had finally waved the white flag. He’d been in and out of the hospital for testing the last several weeks. None of the results were positive and she dreaded getting the message of more bad news.
 There had been a time when she was daddy’s little girl. He’d let her curl in his lap to watch Sesame Street or the evening news or take her for piggyback rides in their backyard. He’d drank during that time. She remembered the pungent smell of whiskey on his breath, but he’d still desired to be home with them and he hadn’t been so angry. She’d come to learn that’s what people called a functioning alcoholic. Around the time she turned five or six, something happened. She didn’t quite know what it was, but he lost interest in her and her mother entirely, and his moods shifted. It had broken her heart—it still did. Now he was sick and the doctors weren’t certain his liver would recover.
She exhaled long and slowly, trying to regain her composure. Even though she’d never classify her relationship with her father as close or strong, tears welled at the thought of him sick or suffering.
On the other hand and as big of a reason not to check her phone, it could be the anonymous creep that had been texting her for the past seven days. Always a number she didn’t recognize. Always a comment on what she wore, her location, or activities. Someone had their eyes on her. She’d felt it for days—a prickly sensation down the spine that came with the awareness when someone was watching her. The constant urge to look over her shoulder. The texts just confirmed it.
Regardless of who it was, she had to check it. What if it was about Daddy? Even with her anger at him for the years of emotional abuse and absenteeism, he was still her father. A part of her longed to be daddy’s little girl again. She stood, tugged her phone out of her pocket, and tapped her password. An unrecognizable number floated on the screen, and Joey squeezed her eyes shut briefly.
I see u!
Sucking in a breath, she jerked her head up and scanned her surroundings. A good seventy-five yards of grass separated her from the edge of the wooded area, but even at that distance, the hair on her neck stood.
Her stomach roiled with nerves and her skin itched like it had for the last week whenever she’d received the prior texts. Keeping her focus on the wooded area, she scooted backward toward the barn until the rough wood scraped against her skin exposed by her sleeveless shirt. 
She glanced around the perimeter of the property again. Why her? Why was someone bothering her? She kept to herself. Some might even call her a loner. She had a handful of friends. Her presence in Florida these last seven years had been under the radar. She didn’t go clubbing or barhopping or socialize much at all, except for Talon and one or two acquaintances she’d kept from school. She hadn’t been involved with a man since college and she graduated three years ago. Her main contact with the world around her was on assignment for work. She couldn’t recall anyone in the last several weeks that had struck her as strange, creepy, or worrisome. Whoever this was had turned her simple existence into a rollercoaster ride.  
Something moved beyond the brush. Her breath hitched. The crack of a branch under the weight of something heavy splintered over the soft sound of dinner music. Her heart raced. Her grip on her phone tightened. Panic seeped into her veins.
“Joey,” a rough voice barked next to her, and if she could have jumped from her skin, she would have left it like the molting black racer snake did on her patio earlier in the week. Her vision blurred. Her chest vibrated with the fierce beat of her heart. Fear of coming face-to-face with the unknown overtook and everything faded to black.

hose fight

About the Authors:

Writers In Crime

Writers in Crime Facebook

DC Stone:

DC Stone has over sixteen years of investigative experience, including working as a criminal investigator in the United States military anda private investigator. Currently, she works as an internal affairs investigator by day and a romantic suspense author by night. She has her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and is dubbed, “The Investigative Whisper. “Commonly called upon to act as an expert witness, she also trains with local, state, and federal law enforcement officers. She provides numerous workshops that help authors gain insight into “digging” into a character’s mind to better understand motives, create suspense, and help maintain conflict. When she isn’t trying to solve a new puzzle in the world offraud, she is engulfed with coffee, her laptop, and all those crazy characters in her head. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hudson Valley Romance Writers, RomVets, RWA Kiss of Death, and the Liberty State Fiction Writers. She served as the 2014 Vice President and Conference Chair for NJRW. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her at www.authordcstone.com.  

Website | Facebook Page | Facebook Profile | Twitter | Email

Cait Jarrod:

From writing ‘every girl’s dream heroes’ to ‘strong, down-to-earth heroines,’ Cait Jarrod twists ‘cliff hanging plots’ and ‘clever, unpredictable sub-plots’. She loves diving into a good book as much as she loves writing one. Mother of three gorgeous daughters, she’s married to her best friend, hangs out with a great group of women—the WWC, and loves a good glass of wine.    

Cait’s Classy Chicks Street Team | Cait’s newsletter | Webpage | Facebook Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Email | Pinterest

Lea Bronsen:

Lea Bronsen likes her reads fast, hot, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and erotic contemporary romance.  

Email | Blog/website | Facebook profile | Facebook page | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Pinterest | Smashwords | Google+ | CreateSpace


Jessica Jayne:

JessicaJayne Jessica is a born and raised small town Ohio girl, who moved to the Sunshine State after graduating from college. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in English because she could not imagine doing anything else but reading and writing. In the journey of life, she obtained her law degree (and bar license) and also became a wife and a mother of three children. So, life is always an adventure. She loves to read and write... obviously! She’s a huge sports fan, especially college football and The Ohio State Buckeyes! Go Steelers! Go Rays! Go Lightning! She LOVES to travel... LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to travel. She loves to drink coffee in the morning and tea at night! She loves a good glass of wine, especially if it comes from a bottle made by the FOOLS wine club… yep, she’s a founding member of that crazy group! She loves hanging out with her family and friends! Music makes her happy. She’s a mix between country girl and city chic. She’s a sucker for a cowboy hat!  

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Amazon | Email


Blog Tour:
Criminal Attraction
Renea Porter
Mar 13th - Mar 20th

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. 

For Rose Hart, Luca Fascinelli is enemy number one. He's the means to an end. She’s been waiting years for this. Everything she has worked for has led up to this point. 


Instead of being the one with the gun, Luca is now facing the barrel of one. Rose has questions and Luca may have the answers. But will it be the answers she’s looking for? 

Will she be able to pull the trigger? Or has Luca snuck his way into her heart?

Renea Porter is best known for writing realistic stories with realistic characters. Her stories may even cause you to shed a tear or two. She mainly writes New Adult and Contemporary Romances. However, she's not afraid to venture into other genre's like Paranormal Romance.

She enjoys spending time with her husband of fourteen years, and step son. She calls Pennsylvania home, but loves to travel and try new things. In her free time you can catch her reading books, watching reality tv, and baking. 


Hosted by

Obsessive Pimpettes Promotions



Today is our blog tour stop for

Legally Charming by Lauren Smith!

Grab your copy of this sexy new contemporary romance and follow the tour!


About Legally Charming:


  Felicity Hart has one goal: Completing her masters in art. Falling in love isn’t part of the plan. She reluctantly agrees to attend a Halloween party with her best friend. After sneaking away from the party and falling asleep in an unoccupied room, she wakes to the sexiest pair of eyes she’s ever seen. Eyes that belong to the one man who could turn her well organized world upside down. When he flashes that wicked, panty-melting smile at her the vow to not fall in love seems impossible… EVERY PRINCE IS LOOKING FOR HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY TO KISS…   Jared Redmond used to be the ultimate bad boy. But now his legal career is taking off and the partners of his firm are trusting him with high-dollar real estate transactions. Jared’s king-size bed is empty. But when he arrives home on Halloween to find a princess sleeping in his bed – his all work and no play attitude goes out the window. There’s nothing he wants more than to explore the hidden desires of this mysterious beauty and show her just how much of a bad boy he really is by fulfilling her every fantasy.   WHEN MIDNIGHT STRIKES AND COACHES TURN TO PUMPKINS… Underneath the glitter of this fairy tale romance, Felicity and Jared might have found true love. But the mounting pressure of their real lives takes hold again and Jared and Felicity are pulled further and further apart. Can they find their fairy tale ending or will they be left with the dying embers of what could have been?

Get Your Copy Today:

Amazon | BN | Kobo | Apple | Google Play


Layla didn’t look chagrined in the least. “It’s Halloween. Oh, and Felicity’s birthday, obviously.”
“Who is Felicity?” He’d never met anyone named Felicity. Not that it was surprising, because he was never around when his brother was hanging out with Layla and their friends. He didn’t really remember what it was like to be that carefree. Law school and work had a way of consuming a person’s good memories.
“Scratch that, I don’t care. Is this thing”—he waved a hand around—“ending anytime soon?” He shifted his briefcase strap over his shoulder. His suit was starting to suffocate him, and as much as he liked the particular steel-gray tie he wore at the moment, he was desperate enough to cut it right off his neck if he couldn’t get to his room fast enough.
“Uh…” She licked her lips. “Don’t know. But you said you weren’t coming back until Sunday.”
“Well, here I am and tired as fuck. So I’m going to bed. Try to keep it down,” he growled.
“Uh, Jared.” She dodged around him, trying to prevent him from getting past her.
“What did you do?” He arched a brow, sensing by the way her eyes widened and she shifted in her stilettos that something was wrong.
“I might have given your bed away.” Layla bit her lip, yet she was brave enough to still meet his eyes.
“What do you mean you gave my bed away?”
She attempted to smile. “You were supposed to be gone until Monday, and Felicity needed a place to stay tonight. It’s late, and I didn’t want her to go home alone. She lives in a sketchy part of town—so I told her she could crash in your bed since you weren’t going to be here.” She glared at him, accusing him of something he wasn’t entirely sure was his fault. “So she’s in your room tonight.” She ended with a finality that did not entirely make sense to his tired brain.
“Let me get this straight. Some girl is in my bed…right now?”
Layla swallowed, her eyes darting away before coming back to him. “Um…yeah?”
“No,” he stated and stalked toward his room, Layla at his heels. Whoever this Felicity person was, she was in his bed, and since it was his bed, whatever Layla and this girl had seemed to think otherwise, he’d have her out of it.
Reaching his bedroom door, he crashed it open and strode in, prepared for all the hell and fury that came with drunk, twenty-something females—and instead, as his eyes adjusted, he found a princess in his bed.
Layla clattered behind on her too-tall stilettos. “Jared, wait—”
He pushed the door open, and a yellow beam of light from the hallway cut across the dark room, revealing a figure lying across his bed.
A princess. There was a princess in his bed.
The burgundy-and-gold gown was draped over his comforter with pearls glowing like tiny moons on the bodice of her gown.
What the fuck?
“Please don’t wake her,” Layla begged.
Wake her? Jared shook his head. What nonsense. He wasn’t a romantic. Even though she was certainly a fantasy. All luscious curves and mystery. Her dark auburn hair cascading over the pillow looked soft. His hands ached to reach out and fist in the strands. She looked like the kind of woman a young man dreamed about and ruined his sheets over, the kind of woman he’d stopped dreaming about a long time ago because he was convinced they didn’t exist.
He didn’t turn to look at Layla as he spoke. “Who is that?”
“Felicity Hart. Birthday girl and, more importantly, my best friend.” The threat was heavily implied. Don’t screw with Layla or her friends. Her loyalty in that respect was one of the things he admired most about his brother’s girlfriend.
Layla’s fingers curled around his biceps and squeezed, getting his attention.
“I told her she could sleep in your room since you weren’t supposed to be here. It’s the only place available for her to sleep.”
“I’m not giving up my bed. I worked seventy hours this week. I’m going to sleep.” He got one step inside his room before Layla practically tackled him, climbing up his back like a spider monkey.
“You. Will. Not. Wake. Her. Up,” Layla growled, nails digging into his arms. “She has a really important research paper due tomorrow, and she needs to sleep.”
“She can stay, but I’m sharing my bed with her. End of discussion. Go back to your party.” With a little shove, he made sure Layla couldn’t get back in before he shut the door in her face.





About Lauren Smith:

Lauren Smith is an Oklahoma attorney by day, author by night who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She knew she was destined to be a romance writer when she attempted to re-write the entire Titanic movie just to save Jack from drowning. Connecting with readers by writing emotionally moving, realistic and sexy romances no matter what time period is her passion. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including: New England Reader’s Choice Awards, Greater Detroit BookSeller’s Best Awards, Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. To connect with Lauren, visit her at www.laurensmithbooks.com

Connect with Lauren:

Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Amazon Profile | BookBub Profile | Goodreads | Instagram


Enter Lauren’s Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway  


P. Rose



Genre: Romance

Date of Publication: March 14, 2017

Number of Pages: 317 pages

Book Description:

"What's a safe call?"

Hope Pendleton isn't ready for the answer. Her best friend, Callie, is into kink … serious kink; the kind that hurts. Hope is young and liberal, so she's cool with it … sort of. It's all just a game, right?

When Callie doesn't come home after a play date, the game gets real. Hope learns Callie's last known play partner is wanted for racketeering and human trafficking, and she faces a desperate dash against time to find her friend. She follows Callie's trail, moving blindly into a world of sexual fantasy and deviance, of chains and floggers, pain and pleasure.

The game becomes a nightmare, and before long, Hope's own life is on the line.

Can she survive to save her friend?

Or will she suffer the same fate?

Graphic and explicit sexual scenes, including BDSM. Not intended for anyone under the age of 18. All characters are over the age of 18.


Purchase Links:





This is not happening.

    This is not happening.

    This is not happening.

    I mouthed the words silently, my lips barely moving, one word for each step I took, one for each breath. The hallway was institutional, harshly lit and silent, except for the slight squeak of my sneakers and the solid, measured steps of the man beside me. He was wearing boots. Not cowboy boots…motorcycle boots, with harness straps. They were black, slightly creased, but shiny and clean. His gray dress slacks covered most of them, but I'd been looking down, staring at my own feet and his, as we walked down the long hallway.

    This is not happening.

    We were in the basement of the building, just like they show on television. The silence echoed around me, pressing in on me, threatening to take the air from my lungs. I glanced up once, to see how much further we had to go, and the fluorescent light fixture above me spun in my peripheral vision. I breathed in and out, and then again, concentrating on the simple act as if my life depended on it.

    This is not happening.

    We stopped in the middle of the hallway, in front of a long window, and he tapped lightly on the glass. I paid attention to my breathing, and I stared at my shoes, noticing the scuff of reddish mud on my left sneaker. I heard a noise on the other side of the glass, and my eyes shot up of their own accord. My heartbeat accelerated and my breathing quickened, the fluorescents hazy in my eyes from the sudden tears blurring my vision.

    I was relieved we weren't going inside the room…ashamed of my sense of relief, but relieved anyway. There was a gurney on the other side of the window, close enough I could have reached through the glass and touched the motionless form of the woman under the green hospital sheet. I felt myself shaking violently, and the bile in my stomach soured, threatening to rise. I felt the man waiting for me, and I didn’t know why. Finally, I nodded once, sharply, lying to tell him I was ready.

    Inside the room, the morgue attendant in surgical scrubs carefully folded the sheet down off the woman's face, uncovering her to below her neck. His movements were precise but respectful, and he smoothed the sheet neatly before stepping away from her. She was beautiful…or she had been. She had short, curly red hair, smooth features, full, bloodless blue lips…and she was so very pale.

    I didn't realize I was holding my breath. I heard the man's voice from far away, gentle, but insistent. "Miss Pendleton? Is this your friend?"

    The tears spilled over, and the window swam in front of me. My knees turned to gelatin, and the man with the gray suit and the motorcycle boots caught me, as the institutional tile floor suddenly came up to meet my face.


About the Author:

Patricia Rose was born a bookworm and has never outgrown it. Her love of stories started with The Bobbsey Twins when she was five and continues today with the best offerings of science fiction, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. An avid animal lover, she shares her home with her husband, Kevin, the wife of her heart, Ellen, three dogs, four cats, and a tarantula.

Technophobic to a fault, Patricia relies heavily on her friends in the Indie writing community to help her with anything more complex than Microsoft Word, this despite her husband's urgings to put down the stone knives and chisels and join the digital age! Patricia's first novel, Iron Mike, is a dystopian science fiction tale and is available on all Amazon forums. Both Hopeless and Iron Mike are available as audiobooks through www.audible.com.