Monday, February 29, 2016

danger and comfortSEALed in Texas

A SEALed for You/Hot SEALs crossover novella for Cat Johnson's Hot SEALs Kindle World

by Marissa Dobson

MD-SEALedinTexas-KWAfter sustaining injuries in the line of duty, Trever Alexander was forced to leave his SEAL team and all he worked for. In the midst of considering a job offer with GAPS, he was thrown into an assignment, one that brought him face to face with the woman he’d left behind. One day Allyson Mason is living a normal, quiet life, and the next she is on the run. She doesn’t know who or what she’s running from. All she knows is that if she wants to stay alive she has to keep moving. She calls the only person she knows that might be able to help. Chased by both physical and mental horrors, Trever and Allyson must put their emotions aside and work together.

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Excerpt:

She turned around to face Trever. “I can’t leave Texas.” “The fuck you can’t.” He now stood near the window, his back still to her. “You’re in danger here.” “Don’t you think I realize that?” Her voice rose, which was better than giving in to the tears she wanted to shed. How had everything worked out like this? It was supposed to be a simple run to the store, then Anthony threw everything away and dragged her down with him. “No, I don’t.” Trever turned back to look at her, his hand gesturing toward the door. “Otherwise you’d have been more careful. What the hell were you thinking, not even bothering to put the latch on the door? Are you hoping they catch you?” “I…I…didn’t think…” she stammered, knowing she had messed up. If Trever had gotten in without her hearing a sound, anyone could have. Someone else could have been waiting for her when she exited the shower completely unaware. “You’re right, you didn’t think, and you could have gotten yourself killed.” He stood there unmoving as if she went through this type of shit all the time. She was out of her element and she knew it. It was why she’d called Brier. “You’re the fucking SEAL, not me,” she spat. “It’s not like I run for my life every other day. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing!” She sank down onto the bed again and stared at the floor. “Maybe I shouldn’t have run. If I’d stayed I—” “You’d be dead,” He finished for her. He came around the bed to stand in front of her. “A drug deal? Damn it, Allie, are you hooked on that shit?” “What?” She looked at him, blinking as she tried to adjust to the sudden swing in the conversation. “If you’re messed up on that shit I need to know. I can’t have you strung out. In order to get you out of here I need you with a clear head.” “I thought you knew me better than that, Trever. I don’t do drugs.” Tired of her emotions pulling her in two different directions she forced herself to look away from him and let her gaze fall onto the duffel bag that held everything she now owned, which wasn’t much. “Just get out. I don’t need your help.” “I think you do.” “You left me…” The words were out before she could stop them. That simple statement was the root of the newest turmoil inside her and was the one reason she was rejecting his help, though she hadn’t meant to verbalize it. She didn’t want him to know that she still missed him. “That’s not what this is about.”

About the Author:

Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Marissa Dobson now resides about an hour from Washington, D.C. She’s a lady who likes to keep busy, and is always busy doing something. With two different college degrees, she believes you are never done learning. Being the first daughter to an avid reader, this gave her the advantage of learning to read at a young age. Since learning to read she has always had her nose in a book. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she started writing down the stories she came up with. Marissa is blessed with a wonderful supportive husband, Thomas. He’s her other half and allows her to stay home and pursue her writing. He puts up with all her quirks and listens to her brainstorm in the middle of the night. Her writing buddy Cameron (a cocker spaniel) is always around to listen to her bounce ideas off him. He might not be able to answer, but he's helpful in his own ways. She loves to hear from readers so send her an email at marissa@marissadobson.com or visit her online at http://www.marissadobson.com.
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The Last Valkyrie
“Being the last of anything just sucks, for the record.”
~Kara
kara
An ancient Dragon, a mischievous Elf, and a Dwarf with the ability to tattoo spells that hide so many things, all have one thing in common: Kara-the last Valkyrie. Zane, a powerful Dragon who lives in Midgard, has been hiding an important treasure since the Valkyrie genocide two-hundred and fifty years ago. He’s been hiding Kara, protecting her from the Gods that want Ragnarok to occur, and from herself. It has been hot as Hel on their mountain for the last few hundred years and she’s over waiting for her Dragon to acknowledge it. Zane is hiding things from her and not giving her what she really needs…silly Dragon, a female won’t wait forever. Rune is an ancient Elven playboy with his own secrets, and a world filled with concubines and power. He gets a lot more than he bargained for when he signs up to help her through her magick training. He surprises himself to learn it is not a bad thing. The Dwarf? Well, you’ll learn more about him and his riveting role in this gripping story. pity Kara’s been hidden in the mountain with Zane, learning the histories of the realms, and how to fight like a true Goddess. After two-hundred and fifty years of training, she can barely best Zane in battle, but she can kick the ass of any other breathing thing. Too bad she needs more than the ability to fight with weapons. Kara needs a little normalcy, a lot of love…and she needs to learn how to set the Gods free so the maniacs of ‘Pro Ragnarok Nation’ don’t get their wish to destroy all the realms and start over with new thrones to be claimed. Hel. To. The. No. She’s going to figure it out. She has to. As Kara learns more about herself and about the world, she finds that nothing is as it seems…not even her. She will learn shocking truths and hidden lies, and at the end of the day, she’s in the midst of them all. Even the greatest of beings can only be broken so many times before they lock away their heart and draw their sword instead. Kara’s sword and her tongue are sharp and ready. But after everything she learns, her sword is bound to get heavier, and the prospect of a new world isn’t seeming all that bad in certain brief moments of time. Except the part where she would never see her family or those she loves again. Moment gone. Sword ready. This is her story, and ours, as we feel the cold bite of the first winter of Ragnarok in our world. Once the ship of the Dead has gotten off its mooring, no one anywhere will have the power to save us all. runes “The Last Valkyrie” by Jennifer Sage ©2015 – Releasing on Valentine’s Day, 2016.
Buy Links:
The Last Valkyrie- Buy Links Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1QfSDBr Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01BRTPFQ6… Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-last-valkyrie-2 ((showing as pre-order only right now)) iBooks: TBA Barnes and Noble : http://www.barnesandnoble.com/…/1123419377;jsessionid=53C38… 18+ only due to sexual content and language

What readers are saying: “Break out the tissues, get ready to laugh, cry, yell at your Kindles or e`readers and at times even throw them across the room. To compare this book with any other paranormal or urban fantasy book would not do it justice.”
“The Last Valkyrie is so very unique and captivating that one cannot simply just put this story down and move onto the next.”
“I was gifted an ARC by the Author for an honest review....honestly I have never read anything quite like this. Ms. Sage draws pictures with her words of fanciful places, battles, love, lust and longing.”
“I expected nothing less than an absolutely amazing story and definitely was not disappointed!!!!”
“I read this book in a day because I truly could not put it down once I started reading it.”
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http://www.jennifersage.com Sign up for my newsletter here Follow me on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Sage/e/B005Z6A3PG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1454280670&sr=1-1 Follow my author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjennifersage/?fref=ts
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WLK synopsis
Three millennium brought the Supreme Commander to this place at this time to meet the one woman who can save not only his soul but his very existence.

Too many days pondering her life. Too many nights dreaming of the nameless, faceless man who makes her feel things she never thought possible.

One has a chance for revenge, the other a chance for redemption. Together they must make a choice. Together they hold the key.

Together only they can save the heart of her king.

This book contains explicit sexual material and violence. It is only suited for mature readers 18 years of age and older.

TEASERS

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WLK Author Bio
Julia Mills - author_picMom of two rockin' girls, Reader of everything, Author of The Dragon Guards series and many more surprises to come!
I am a sarcastic,sometimes foul-mouthed, not afraid to drink a beer, always southern woman with 2 of the most amazing teenage daughters,
a menagerie of animals and a voracious appetite for reading who recently decided to write the storied running through her brain. I read my first book, Dr Suess' Cat in The Hat by myself at 4 and was hooked.
I believe a good book along with shoes, makeup and purses will never let a girl down and that all heroes of all the books
I have ever read or will ever write pale in comparison to my daddy! I am a sucker for a happy ending and love some hot sweaty sex with a healthy dose of romance.
I am still working on my story but believe it will contain all of the above with as much SPICE as I can work into it. CHEERS!

Second Chances Blog Tour Banner

Cover by: Marisa Shor of Cover Me, Darling

Release Date: February 29, 2016

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Second-Chances-Dreams-Come-True-ebook/dp/B01BH37QSM?imprToken=3g4G05X4GbHOGeOTDMPpKg&tag=gcbb-20&linkCode=w13&linkID=GE7S3IGL72NGHO35&ref_=assoc_res_sw_us_dka_cra_c_result_1&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fgtindiecafe.blogspot.com%2Fp%2Fbuy-on-amazon.html

 

Blurb:

For as long as he could remember, Sebastian had been cursed. It began with the tragic death of his parents when he inherited the modern art gallery. It continued every day when he looked in the mirror and saw a monster where a man should be. He’d tried everything without success. Then he happened upon her, his cure, the one who could give him a second chance at life, love and happiness. After years of repairing what her father destroyed during his drunken rampages, opening a shop for repurposed and redesigned furniture seemed a natural progression for Marisa. When Sebastian hired her, she finally had a chance to get paid to do what she’d done for years for free. It seemed like a win, until he proposed. The moment they met, Sebastian was drawn to her. Of course, losing everything in thirty days if he didn’t marry was a huge incentive. So he asked and she refused. An experienced negotiator, he never gave up when he had his heart set on something. For Marisa, marriage wasn’t on the table and love wasn’t negotiable. Still, always quick to see the best in others, she looked at him and saw a project, her ultimate redesign. Maybe even Sebastian deserved a second chance. second chances want teaser Excerpts: #1 Finally, I opened my eyes, lifted my fork and started to pick at the pancakes again. “Marisa, this is…” I held up a finger. “Shh! Stop interrupting.” “You’re not saying anything!” Sebastian beamed even as he tried to sound exasperated. Shifting in my chair, I turned to face him. “I’m thinking.” Leaning forward, he murmured, “While you’re thinking, can we talk about you?” I stiffened then shook my head. “I never talk about myself.” From the corner of my eye, I watched for a reaction. Apparently, he had decided to ignore me, since he continued to speak. “Your father says you’re talented. You can fix anything. Is this true?” Licking my lips, my head tilted as I studied him. “I’m opening a shop called Second Chances. What do you think?” “Good.” He nodded then started to tug on his lower lip. Fascinated, I watched for a moment before interrupting. “What are you thinking?” “The insurance company will probably cut me a check today to get started on repairs and replacing things around here. I want to hire you to fix as much of what’s broken as possible.” With a hesitant smile, he asked, “What do you think?” Silently, with narrowed eyes, I considered his offer. “I have to get ready to open my store.” “I understand that, but you must also need money.” I watched as his jaw tightened. This was a man who didn’t like being refused. “Yes, I do, but I also need time and there’s only so much of that.” I was determined to stick to my plan. “I still have to go find more pieces to work on…” Sebastian leaned on the arm of the chair. “What do you need?” With a slight grin, I responded. “I’ll know it when I see it.” “Do I have the field trip for you.” He crossed his arms over his chest for a moment as if deep in thought. “So, if I can find you more pieces, and pay you to repair stuff around here, will you do it?” My lips pursed as prepared to blurt out what troubled me most. “Why would you do this for me?” Determined to get an answer, I pushed my chair back from the table. “My father destroyed your gallery. You could’ve thrown him in jail, but you’re obviously paying for a program at a treatment facility instead. As if that wasn’t enough, you want to hire me to do work and supply me with pieces for my shop.” Shifting to face him, I leaned forward and balanced my arms on my thighs. “What do you want, Sebastian? People don’t just do all this and expect to get nothing in return. You could buy all new furniture. You don’t really need me. Talk to me. And don’t bother lying to me because I’ll know.” Now it was all out in the open. I felt better, but the longer he made me wait in silence, the more my stomach twisted in turmoil. Apparently, I wasn’t suffering alone. Staring at him, I could see the sweat breaking out in tiny droplets over his brow. He tried to act all cool, but Sebastian was drying his hands on his pants and probably trying to decide what to say. My eyes honed in on his little tells. It had been a guess, but I knew I was right. He wanted something. Judging by his reaction, it had to be big. “Well.” Sebastian swallowed hard. He started to talk once more, but instead hesitated and took an enormous swig of his hot chocolate. He wiped his mouth and dabbed at his brow. Through it all, I waited. Finally he sighed and his shoulders sank. “I…I want you to marry me.” Second Chances v-card teaser #2: Sebastian breathed into my hair. He seemed saddened by my words. I wanted to explain, to make him feel better. I’d die right now if he felt sorry for me. Instead, he beat me to it. “I was going to try to convince you to stay,” he whispered. “I’ll stay.” A smile spread across my face, and I squeezed him even tighter. “You can’t stay like that.” He shook his head. “You basically just admitted you’re a virgin.” “Wait. Does staying mean we have to have sex?” I leaned back and stared up at his face, my brow furrowed. “Maybe I’m not ready to stay. No need to have all my firsts in one night, right?” The side of Sebastian’s mouth quirked. “Right. Maybe just one more though…for both of us.” There was something in the way he stared down at me, the intensity of it, like he was seeing straight into my soul. I couldn’t look away. I didn’t want to. Still, my mouth opened slightly as he swooped down and matched his lips to mine in another searing kiss. The heat between us had me going up in flames and awakened a need in me, the same way the sun stirred seeds to life in the spring. The way our tongues danced in a rhythm I somehow knew, despite never being taught. I wanted more, so much more. For the first time, I wanted everything. Sharing my secrets with him wasn’t enough. Now I wanted to share my body, give myself to him, heart and soul. Sebastian didn’t even have to ask, I’d offer, if only to make the aching cease. It was as if he knew because he suddenly stopped, pulled back, and pressed his forehead to mine. My eyes shot open and I discovered his were still closed, an unfamiliar look on his face as he bit hard on his lower lip. Acting entirely on instinct, I moved, trying to secure one more kiss, missing our newfound closeness already. “More,” I murmured as I pressed my body to his. To my disappointment and surprise, Sebastian shook his head. “No way, sunshine.” Exhaling slowly, he scooped me up in his arms and walked me through the condo until he deposited me on his bed in a seated position. Though I had no idea what we were going to do now, I had no desire to argue. Reaching around behind me, I grabbed at my zipper and yanked it down. Soon the dress began to slip down my shoulders while I stared him in the eyes. “Marisa, we can’t. Not tonight. I’m not stealing your v-card after one mediocre date.” He smiled shyly as he climbed onto the bed beside me. “If and when we take that step, we’ll both be completely sober and deeply in love.” Cupping the back of my head, Sebastian pressed his lips to my cheek and pulled the dress onto my shoulders. “But you said one more first. You carried me to your room.” The confusion made me self-conscious. If I had more experience, maybe I’d understand. Instead, I wanted to cry, hot tears of embarrassment already prickling my eyes. He nodded. “Would you like to spend the night here, in my arms?” Sebastian drew me close. “I’ve never done that before, never simply slept with any girl for the whole night…or at all for that matter.” Then he ducked his head so we were eye to eye. “But you have to wear clothes to bed. I’m not that strong and you’re practically impossible to resist. Okay?” Immediately, I brightened. “So, I’m kinda irresistible?” There was no hiding my grin. “Yes, sunshine. You’re so damn desirable, I have no idea how I’m going to keep my word.” My smile must’ve faltered some then. “Don’t worry. I will. I promise, you’re safe with me.” Sebastian released me then, moved from the bed to the closet and returned with a t-shirt for me to wear. I snatched it from his hands and rushed to the open bathroom door I’d spied while he carried me in here. It only took a few minutes for me to change. When I returned, he was already wearing his own t-shirt and pajama pants. As I walked toward him, he pulled back the covers. “Climb in, Marisa. I’m going to hold you while you fall asleep.” His words were all the invitation I needed. With all the restraint of a toddler and with the skills of a gazelle, I bounced into bed, struggling to hide the giggles bubbling in my throat. “Let it out. Then come here.” He grinned and opened his arms to me. Seconds later, I had positioned myself nicely. I thought. Only then I hadn’t. I shifted again and some more. Nope, my arm started hurting. Finally, without saying a word, Sebastian moved me onto my side, facing away from him. “But,” I argued, my voice barely louder than a whimper. Soon, he had wrapped himself around me, pressed his groin against my ass, and had his face buried in my neck. After he planted a few lingering kisses there, Sebastian murmured, “Sleep well, Marisa.” Destruction Shattered or demolished glass on black #3 The mansion had an abandoned feel to it. If it weren’t for the furniture, I’d have doubted anyone lived there. Our shoes echoed on the marble floors given the high ceilings. While I fought an urge to explore the place, I waited for Sebastian’s lead. “We need to hurry. I want to have the pieces picked before the movers arrive in approximately fifteen minutes. Then we’ll see how much time we have before my uncle returns.” He pointed toward the huge winding staircase. “Is he coming back today?” Suddenly I shivered. “Probably. He never leaves this place unattended for too long.” Sebastian laughed. “My guess is he feared I’d actually take some of what’s mine.” At the top of the stairs, we took a right and walked down a musty smelling corridor. “Where are we going?” I glanced around at the walls covered in paintings. The place felt like a museum. “My rooms were down here. And the room…” He stopped in the middle of the hall, turned and held my upper arms. “I lost my temper a lot after my parents died. My uncle would goad me and I’d fall for it every time. Please. I need you to understand.” His brow furrowed. I’d never seen him look so vulnerable. Slowly, I nodded. Of course he worried I’d think he was like my father. “Don’t worry. I get it.” With my reassurance, he released me and we walked solemnly toward a door at the very end of the hall. Opening it, he turned on the light and stared a moment before stepping aside to give me access. “You’ll find what you need in here.” He head dropped until his chin nearly touched his chest. As soon as I moved into the room, I paused. Everywhere I looked there was broken furniture, including countless broken mirrors. Why would he keep them? There was a desk, a vanity table and stool, several bedroom suites stacked about. There was an old table, a couple of benches, and many doors that seemed to have been ripped from their hinges. I only had two questions. “Did you do all of this?” Tears formed in my eyes while glanced about. “Yes,” he whispered. “I was sober, of course. Not sure if it makes it better or worse.” “Better.” I nodded and sniffled. Funny how I could understand his hurt and his pain so easily, but my father…I had yet to forgive. Ready to move on, I asked my next question. “What can I take?” Sebastian’s hand swooped to encompass all the contents of the room. “Whatever you want. You earned it. You deserve it.” His shoulders relaxed some. “I think you’re the only person who can fix it.” “Fix the furniture?” I made a face. “Please. Anyone can fix this.” In two steps, he was in front of me, tilting my chin until our eyes locked. “No. Fix me.” Before I could respond his lips were on mine, not simply kissing, but possessing me. When I opened my mouth to his tongue, I could almost taste his fear, and feel his pain. Then, at the end, there was something else, some spark. Hope. Sebastian pulled me impossibly close until he very nearly lifted me off my feet. I would’ve let him too. The emotions his kiss had awakened distracted me from everything else, until his phone began to chime insistently. Slowly, he drew back. Then with his forehead pressed against mine, he peeked at his phone, still in his hand. “The movers.” Standing upright, he answered their call and spoke to them while I marveled over the kiss. “They’ll be here in just a minute. So what would you like?” My eyes never left his face as I responded. “Everything.” I spoke with certainty and willed him to understand. It wasn’t just the furniture I desired.  

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meet emma nichols

What made her decide to be a romance author? Simple. How else was she going to parlay her two favorite past times into a career? Emma is single and loving it. Like her first character, Alysin, Sin for short, she doesn't believe in settling or in settling down. She loves to indulge in her passions whenever the mood strikes and enjoys keeping all of life's cliché moments spicy. Known for her sense of humor, Emma surrounds herself with friends whose antics often become the source of book fodder. Her ideal situation would be to explore the Caribbean while writing. She pursues that dream daily.

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COVER

Title : LOVE ‘EM - A Bad Boy Romance Author : Kelley Harvey • Amazon Paid In Kindle Store Top 100 Best Selling Author • Genre : Contemporary Romance Release Date : February 11, 2016

BONUS: For a limited time, the eBook of LOVE ‘EM. – A Bad Boy Romance will include a BONUS. SO. BAD. - A Bad Boy Next Door novel full length novel. Both are standalones.
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LOVE ‘EM—a Bad Boy Romance Book Blurb

RONNIE
He’s rude. He’s crude. He’s socially unacceptable. Jackson Tremaine gets under my skin as easily as he gets into my pants. He’s the prince of late night television and he single-handedly ruins my life between commercial breaks. That’s fine. Payback’s a bitch, and she’s named Ronnie Fitz.
JACKSON
Ronnie thinks she knows men, but she don’t know Jack—jackshit, that is. The biggest problem with Ronnie Fitz? She’s addictive. I had the best night of my life with her, and now she decides we can only be friends? Screw the friend-zone. It’s the fuck-zone or no-zone with Jackson Tremaine.

Teaser 2 Where you can purchase LOVE ‘EM:

LOVE ‘EM available on Amazon, $.99 or *FREE* for Kindle Unlimited Members.

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Em-Bad-Boy-Romance-ebook/dp/B01BLPT6SO?imprToken=3g4G05X4GbHOGeOTDMPpKg&tag=gcbb-20&linkCode=w13&linkID=GE7S3IGL72NGHO35&ref_=assoc_res_sw_us_dka_cra_c_result_1&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fgtindiecafe.blogspot.com%2Fp%2Fbuy-on-amazon.html

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Teaser 3  
exclusive excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

RONNIE My brand new shoes bite into the back of my heels and squish my toes. I fill a paper cup with water and set it aside without ingesting so much as a sip. Shayna takes my elbow as I pass by for the fifteenth time. “For Christ’s sake, sit down. I wasn’t nervous until you started pacing.” I press my finger to the twitch at the corner of my left eye. “This is going to be a disaster. I know it.” “It’ll be fine. Relax.” My best friend for the last three years fluffs my corkscrew curls around my shoulders and grasps my upper arms. “A live studio audience will be good. I promise. You’ll be so happy you did this.” “Somehow I doubt it. Why couldn’t you have kept your mouth shut when Sam called?” Blah blah blah, that’s what she did. Info dump right into my agent’s ear, and that was the cannonball on the catapult that shot me straight to the gates of Hell. Shayna was the first to be invited on the show, and after she talked to Sam, I got a call too. Shay whirls me around to face a blank wall. She holds her hand up as if she’s painting a scene. “Picture this: You’ll sell a million books, and then you can take me to Cancun. We’ll sip fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas, delivered to us on golden trays by hot cabana boys who don’t speak our language. We’ll say the rudest things and smile and still get laid at the end of the day.” A smile pulls up the corner of my mouth even as I rub the ache between my eyebrows. “If you say so. Let’s just hope Jackson Tremaine is feeling charitable tonight.” She sticks her tongue out. “Jackson Tremaine can go fuck himself.” I straighten her platinum blonde, not-quite-human-hair wig and tip her bug-eye sunglasses down enough to stare into her baby blues. “You think all men should go fuck themselves. You know, most of them want the same things we want. To be loved. To be respected. You just have to give them a chance.” “Every year, I offer about a hundred of them a ‘chance’. All but three have failed, and those already belonged to other women.” Shay quirks her auburn eyebrow. Good thing the shades hide the dead giveaway that she isn’t really a blonde bombshell. A sad sigh escapes before I can catch it. “I’m so sorry, sweetie, but maybe you need to consider another career path?” Even though her eyes are hidden again, it’s as though I hear them rolling. “Thanks for the advice, but I make an excellent living in my current line of work. As much as I love you, Ronnie, you and I have two different philosophies when it comes to men. I’m good with that.” A petite woman pops into the room. “Ladies, he’s going to bring you out one at a time, starting with you, Ronnie. In five.” My stomach grabs hold of my esophagus and trembles as the second hand ticks away the moments. My first live appearance on television is tying me into knots. Appearing on the Up Late with Jackson Tremaine show should be a boon, but it’s probably going to blow up in my face. Like a big fat dirty bomb. Lights out. My instinct says that he’s a shark and I’m a guppy. He’s going to chew me up and spit me out. That’s if I’m lucky, and he doesn’t swallow me whole. No. I won’t let him. He’s a man, like all the other men I’ve studied since I was twelve and Dad skipped out on my overbearing, never-to-be-pleased mother. If she’d have shown him some love and compassion, he’d have stayed. I’m sure of it. I have to remember that about Jackson. Underneath his Armani suits and Rolex watches, he wants the same things as everyone else—respect and love. That’s all. Show him some respect, and he’ll return the favor. And, after tonight, I can move on and watch my book sales skyrocket as I ring in the new year, and my bank account will follow suit. Shayna stands in front of the full length mirror in the corner and applies a fresh coat of the blood-red lipstick she purchased specifically for tonight. “Can you tell that it’s me?” I rub my finger along my bottom lip. “Well, I can tell it’s you, but I’d know you with a bag on your head. That sassy sway of your hips and the way you talk with your hands would give it away. But, I think you’re all right. Most people don’t pay that close of attention. I’m certain your secret’s safe.” “I only want to ensure my potential clients can be assured that their unsuspecting, cheating bastards won’t know what’s coming when I make my move.” I shake my head. “One of these days, Shay—” “I know. I know.” She brings her tone up an octave, mimicking me. “‘One of these days, you’re going to meet the man of your dreams. You’re going to read my book. You’ll fall in love. And wah,wah, fucking wah.’ Save it, Rons. I am perfectly happy with my life. I’ll let you do the loving. I’ll stick with fuck and release, thank you.”  
Offstage, the silent monitor flickers in the dark. On screen, two insanely gorgeous men smile at a shared joke and holiday lights twinkle in the background. The host tidies his stack of note cards, tapping them on the desk and tucking the one at the front behind the others. Jackson’s voice has a velvet covered rasp, even sexier in person than on television. “Eleven days to Christmas, and a brand new year waits just around the corner. Many will make and break resolutions. How about those resolutions to find love or dump a dead weight relationship?” His smile widens as he holds up his hands, trying to calm the masses as they cheer. When the crowd quiets, he says, “The ladies who make up this duo are actually very best friends. The livelihood of both women depends on love, in one capacity or another. I call them Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em, if that tells you anything at all about their respective career fields.” He brushes his fingers through chocolate-colored hair. “Let’s meet Love ‘Em first. How many of you gals have your eye on a man who seems to stay just out of reach, or one who doesn’t want to commit?” Someone in the audience cat-calls about her guy. “And we’re glad you’ve got a man who’s hung like King Kong.” Jackson answers the bawdy lady while he winks at the camera. “Anyway, our next guest thinks she knows men. Love ‘Em’s got us all figured out and has put her wealth of knowledge into book form.” My stomach takes a plunge to my feet. Here we go. He holds up my book and exchanges a knowing look with his first guest as he stands. “This guide for women is supposed to help you ladies catch and keep your dream lovers. Please welcome the author of Decode the Man in Your Life, Ronnie Fitz.” The handler ushers me toward the stage’s side entrance. “Watch—” Applause drowns out whatever he’s saying as I clear the edge of the royal blue curtain. The clipboard-wielding guy gives me a shove toward Jackson Tremaine who waits three feet ahead with his hand held out in greeting. Jackson has the clearest sage green eyes I’ve ever seen, dark around the edges but almost white at their center. They crinkle at the corners as he smiles at me, sending my heart into an abnormal rhythm. The hand he holds out to me waves me out, drawing me to him like a— Something grabs my ankle. Crap. A cable running across the floor is wrapped over my beautiful new shoe. I try to compensate with my other foot, but it makes it worse. I stumble forward, losing my balance as my plastered-on smile falters. Instead of shaking his hand, I fall against Jackson Tremaine’s muscular chest. Strong arms come around me, pulling me up and tight against him. His scent, something like sandalwood and cinnamon, envelopes me. His laugh vibrates through my breasts, now pressed firmly against his pecs. The audience goes bat-shit wild with applause. Oh my—Hell. In Hell. Right now. This can’t be happening. Mr. Tremaine hangs on tight until the crowd quiets. “Well, that’s a great start to a new relationship. But I’m afraid I’m happy in my bachelorhood, Ms. Fitz.” He sets me away from him, adjusting first his tie and then his junk right in front of God and everybody. Heat floods my face, and I don’t know where to look. “Oh, I’m—so sorry. I tripped.” He tosses a sly look at the closest camera. “No worries. I don’t mind at all. I enjoy a beautiful woman in my arms any time—but only for a short time.” Jackson takes my hand, sending tingles up my arm. “I’ll hold on to you until we get you safely into your seat.” He leads me to the chair between guest number one and the side of the desk. Jackson stage whispers to the other man. “Be careful of this one, Bax. Love ‘Em’s quite a handful.” Casino mogul Baxter Ransom nods as he offers his hand. “Nice to meet you, Ms. Fitz.” I do the best I can to swallow my embarrassment. “Likewise.” Jackson returns to his seat. “So, Ronnie—you don’t mind if I call you that? You’ve put together this instruction manual, if you will, for women.” I brush my wild curls away from my face with trembling fingers. “I suppose you could call it that. It’s really only common sense things that most of us already know but fail to put into practice in our everyday lives.” “I read the book last night—well, parts of it—and I’m not convinced.” The lead weight in my gut grows. No, it’s okay. He’s playing Devil’s Advocate. It’s his job. “Oh? What part do you need help with?” I smile, but inside my heart is shriveling into a raisin. He’s making me out to look a fool, and no one is going to buy my book by the time he’s done with me. He leans back in his chair, propping his feet on his desk. “Well, this whole idea that a woman can get the guy she wants, simply by showing him deference and respect…” I take a quick breath, heat simmering in my stomach. Dumbass is twisting my words. “I didn’t say deference.” He laces his fingers across his flat belly. “Oh, maybe I read that incorrectly. Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of a woman who shows a man respect. I don’t buy that it will get him to commit.” The fire in my gut stirs. “Well, think about it, Mr. Tremaine. What man doesn’t want the woman in his life to tell him how amazing he is on a daily basis?” I wait, but he just sits there, smugness poised on his too handsome face. It’s as if he didn’t hear the question I asked. “Well?” I prompt. His eyebrows go up, fake surprise in his expression. “Oh, that wasn’t rhetorical?” No wonder he’s still single. I let out a huff of air. “How many men get the respect they want and deserve from the women who profess to love them? The principals in my book all come down to one thing: men aren’t as complicated as ladies think they are. They want love just like women do. The biggest difference is what they perceive as love.” He squints as though considering my words. “Well, they do say perception is ninety percent of reality. My ninety percent says this is a load of rhino dung.” My jaw drops. Did he really just say that—about my book, my magnum opus, in front of billions of people? I snap my mouth shut and glare at him. “Maybe your perception is what’s full of shit.” His eyes widen, and his gaze darts to a man on the sidelines with a clipboard and an apoplectic vein popping out on his forehead. “Oops, probably shouldn’t have cursed. All those pesky FCC regulations.” I smile sweetly at my asshole of a host. Jackson nods to the vein guy, whips his feet off his desk, and holds my book up once more. “And there you have it, folks. Want to know how to get a man? Buy the book and have him in the bag by Valentine’s Day.” He tosses the book aside and smiles directly at the camera set in the middle isle of the gallery of seats. “Our next guest, BFF to Ms. Fitz here, is pretty much her polar opposite.” In ways he will never understand. Jackson grins. “Leave ‘Em—remember that’s her nickname. Sorry, I can’t reveal her true identity, because she needs the anonymity to run her business. Leave ‘Em claims she doesn’t believe in true love. Well, I suppose not, considering it’s her job to prove it isn’t out there.” Jackson stands and claps. “Please welcome our next guest. She’s the person other women hire to test the men in their lives.” Shayna glides onto the stage—no tripping for her. She’s much too graceful as she waves and blows kisses Marilyn Monroe style. Maybe she’s taking that wig too seriously. Shayna takes Jackson’s offered hand in both of hers as Baxter and I shuffle chairs to make room for Shayna in the seat I vacated, closest to the host. Jackson seats my friend and takes his own chair. “So, you’re the temptress who actually tries to get men to cheat before you report back to your clients.” “I suppose you might describe my work that way.” Shayna’s lacquered fingernail taps out a rhythm on the arm of her chair. “You set up and ambush unsuspecting men?” Mr. Ransom shifts in his seat. She licks her bright red lips. “I only make an overture they could easily ignore. It’s only a trap for those men already predisposed to cheat on their significant other.” Jackson Tremaine leans forward, his elbows on his desk, chin in his hands. “So, Ms. Leave ‘Em, do you actually screw these cheating guys?” Shayna grins. As usual, she’s unfazed by direct barbs. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain she likes it. “No, I never go that far. I’m not a prostitute. I simply do my best to lure the men to willingly place themselves in a compromising position. I always stop before anything too serious happens.” Baxter rubs his chin, as though contemplating what Shayna has said. “Never?” “Never.” Her shades hide her rolling eyes, but I’m certain that’s what she did. Baxter lifts one eyebrow. “Hmm.” Jackson barks a laugh, which he unsuccessfully tries to cover with a cough. “Excuse me. I—oh hell, I can’t lie. I just had a fantastic idea.” Our host sends a sly look toward the camera to his left before he turns his full attention to me. “So, Ms. Love ‘Em—Ronnie—would you be willing to wager that should a woman use the techniques in your book, her man won’t have the propensity to cheat, because he’d be so enamored of her and happy at home?” Baxter Ransom coughs, and Shayna whips around to me, her mouth slightly agape. My throat goes bone dry. “Um—well, I mean—I—” Shayna jumps to my rescue. “A cheater will cheat, no matter how wonderful his woman is. Some guys are scum. Cheaters cheat, no matter what.” I lay my hand on her arm. “Wait. No. I believe most people cheat because something in their relationship is lacking.” Shay elbows me. “Shh.” I toss her a look. She ignores me. “No. A cheater is a cheater is a cheater—no matter what.” The mischief coming off of Jackson Tremaine is almost palpable, and the audience goes silent. It’s as though they know he’s going to do something outrageous, which he probably will. And they’ll all think it’s epic, only I’ll probably be shoved to a lower level of Hell. Even the slight shifting and shuffling that usually goes on in a crowd dies down as he continues to study me and my friend. He looks around both of us. “Bax, you’re a gambler.” Mr. Ransom draws back. “Well, my business is gambling, but—” “Let’s make a wager, shall we? Right here on live television.” My bladder twitches. Nervousness makes me need to pee. I could probably fill up three adult diapers at this very moment. Whatever Jackson has in mind is bound to be bad for me, terrible for my book, and probably horrible for my long-term career goals. Baxter leans closer to Jackson. “Go on.” “Let’s see which of these two ladies’ juju works best.” Jackson wags his eyebrows like he’s a villain in a cartoon. Shayna pops up out of her seat. “That’s not how I run my business.” “Aw, c’mon, now, be a sport.” Baxter grins, his eyes trailing from her fake hair all the way to the five-inch heels of her platform fuck-me boots. Jackson looks straight into the main camera. “What do you think, America? Shall we wager that Love ‘Em can’t use the techniques in her book to keep Leave ‘Em from taking her man?” Shayna falls into her seat with a thud. “She doesn’t even have a man.” And there it is. I let out a sigh. All of America knows I’m a love specialist who’s not in love and has no man. No hint of a man in my life—not even an old toothbrush still haunting my medicine cabinet from a man I once had. I’m sunk. Jackson cocks his head, as though he can hardly believe what he’s heard. I open my mouth to rebut her statement, only to be interrupted. “Do you not have a significant other, Ms. Love ‘Em?” His green eyes are too beautiful for someone like him. Nasty, evil people shouldn’t get to be gorgeous. Not fair. They should be ugly as a warning to children not to become emotionally corrupt. I close my eyes. I so hoped this wouldn’t come up. Of all the things, why this? I clear my throat. “That has absolutely no bearing on—” He holds up one finger. “Wait. Hear me out. I take it from your reply that the answer is no?” Panic sweeps over me in a rush of hot tingles up the back of my neck and across my face. I fight the urge to jump up and run off stage. “No significant other at this time.” The twinkle in his eyes makes me want to scratch them out of his skull. I’ve never met a man I liked less. Ever. I toss my purse onto the counter in the kitchen. “Worst. Day. In. History.” “I don’t want to hear it. You could’ve avoided that entire exchange.” Shayna drops into a chair at the table and unzips her thigh-high boot. My jaw falls almost to my navel. “I could have avoided it? What about you?” Shay kicks off one boot. “Not me. You’re the one who should’ve said no.” “You should have, too.” She tilts her head to the side, glaring. “No. I couldn’t. My work depends on women trusting the fact that if their guy is a cheater—if he’s going to cheat at all—it would be with me. If I were to say I couldn’t possibly entice your guy—whoever the fuck that ends up being—into cheating, then why would anyone ever hire me?” “Who’s going to buy a book on how to catch and keep their man from a woman who isn’t confident enough to say that she can keep her man enthralled enough that he’ll turn down the opportunity to go at it with a blonde dressed like a prostitute?” “Prosti…” Shayna looks down at her outfit and giggles. “Yeah, I guess I am kind of dressed to head down to the boulevard and hawk my ample wares.” She shimmies her tits in her too tight black leather jacket. “Day-umn. I didn’t even get the big O from that one. How about you?” “What?” She makes no sense to me sometimes. Shay extricates herself from her other boot. “I mean, Jackson Tremaine fucked us both, and good.” “I guess he did.” I drop into the chair adjacent to hers. “It’s not exactly like we can bail—not now that the entire country is waiting to see which one wins.” She side-eyes me. “We could tell Jackson to fuck off, and dust off our hands and move on.” I let out a weary breath. “No. We can’t.” “Why not?” “Because millions, if not billions, of people saw us on that show. You’re fine if you bow out. You’ll continue to do your thing. But me? If I back out, I’m screwed six ways to Sunday.” She rubs the teensy crease between her brows. “Aw, c’mon, Rons. Your book’s success isn’t completely dependent on Jackson Tremaine’s show. You just don’t want to rock the boat.” “Rock what boat?” “The boat where everyone does what’s expected and no one does what they shouldn’t. The viewers expect you to be part of this bet. You’ll do it, if for no other reason than that you’re afraid to break the rules.” I huff. “What rules? I don’t know what you mean.” “Girl, you’ll fall in line behind whatever perceived rule there is in any given situation. I hate to break it to you, but you, my friend, are a goody two-shoes. In your mind, there’s some invisible rule that states the gauntlet has been thrown. Therefore, you must meet the challenge.” Goody two-shoes? Gauntlet? “I break plenty of rules, thank you. It’s only that I happen to know this particular thing can sink my career faster than the Titanic went down. I’ve worked too hard for that to happen.” Shay cast a skeptical glance at me. “What rules have you broken lately?” The answer eludes me. I search through my recent memory. Nada. I scratch my head. “I—I don’t know. Who keeps a journal of broken rules? Just… ugh, stop already. We have to do this bet.” “Oh whatever. I’ll do it, because you’re my friend, and I’d cut off my right arm for you—that’s my masturbation hand, just so we’re clear about what I’d be giving up.” Only Shay would point that out. I can’t help but smile. “At least this way only one of us will be screwed.” “Well, if I’m the one who loses, please make sure you throw me a pittance when you see me lying outside your gate with my tin cup.” She unpins her wig. When she shakes her red hair down her back, it cascades like a waterfall. The slight wave in it is probably there from being rolled up under her Marilyn get-up. It’s moments like this that I hate her. “I’d almost kill to have your hair,” I lament for the umpteenth time. She shrugs. “Well, I would kill to have your curls. So you’d best sleep with one eye open, bitch.” Shay’s African Gray whistles and squawks in the living room. “Bitch. Who you callin’ bitch?”  
 

MEET KELLEY HARVEY

Kelley and her husband Mike live in North Central Texas. KH PicHaving two daughters, one teen and one in her early twenties, keeps them on their toes. In other words, they’re saturated in angst and excitement. Kelley often feels as though she lives on Teenage Drama Island and desperately needs a vacation to Adult Sans Kids Resort. The upside is she’s always awash in oceans of inspiration. Kelley enjoys reading YA and NA, although on occasion she gets caught reading other genres. Writing is her full time job. Though it’s hard work, it’s also a dream come true. Her characters knock on the door of her heart and constantly poke their heads out the windows of her imagination. She hopes you connect with them as deeply as she does.   Teaser 4

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Sunday, February 28, 2016


Meet Luke Crawley in Blake Austin's debut novel of loss, redemption, and ever-enduring love!

Blurb

 

Luke Cawley is a broken man. After his wife's tragic death, he lost everything that mattered in the world. Now, his life is filled with hard days, harder nights, and a steady stream of alcohol and the wrong kind of women. Nothing helps.

 

Until the letters arrive on Luke's doorstep.

 

Nine envelopes. Nine messages. Nine chances to find his way back.

 

Rae Goode is looking for the real thing. After fighting her way out of a string of bad relationships, she's ready for something different--something true.

She meets Luke while piecing her life together, and right away she can tell that he's different. Drawn together by fate and the desire to heal, Rae and Luke discover new ways to mend their broken hearts--one letter at a time.

 

Discover Blake Austin's debut novel of loss, redemption, and ever-enduring love.

Excerpt

 

I was about twenty minutes early for my shift, but I got up to the bar, grabbed a rag, started wiping it down, bussing some dishes.

"Damn, Luke," Jake said, watching me work. "You win the lotto or something? Royals win the pennant last night and I forgot to watch?"

"I'm just in a good mood, that's all," I said.

I thought about it a moment longer, decided I should tell him more. Impart some wisdom learned from my not-particularly-advanced years.

"When everything's dark for so damn long and your eyes get used to it," I said, "just a little glimmer of sunshine lights up the whole world."

He nodded, then grabbed a bus bin and headed back into the kitchen.

Warren though, Warren wasn't impressed. He was sitting by one of the daytime barflies, but he'd stopped talking and was just watching me. I was on thin ice, and I knew it. I couldn’t afford to lose my job. A heartbroken, drunk, angry widower is probably as unemployable as the average ex-con.

I came on at the end of the day shift. Warren liked tending bar during the day, because it meant just shooting the shit with the regulars. That day I had a smile for every customer, sparse words of wisdom like day drunks want to hear. Tending bar wasn't my dream. But to hell with letting that make me lazy. I kept the place clean, I poured drinks like I cared.

I was getting into the swing of it when happy hour kicked in and a few more people filtered through the door. Couple of middle-aged bikers, a retired couple that parked their RV out front.

The door swung open again, letting in a little bit of that early-evening cold, and I glanced up to see a crowd of three women, with two men. One of the women was a reddish blonde, radiant. Sort of stole the light out of the room. It was Rae. Our eyes met and her smile gave the room back its light.

She'd been in jeans at the shelter, but she was in a blue dress now and she looked damn fine in either. Took my mind right off Maggie, faster than I thought it would be possible. I met her eyes, and she gave out a little gasp and giggle. I was probably smiling in surprise myself.

The crowd came over to the bar. I'd thought the other four were two couples, but I realized pretty quick that the black girl with the afro was dating the quiet white guy in a beard and glasses and tattoos, and that the other guy was trying to impress Rae. He had a John Deere hat, but his clothes were way too clean for me to buy it that he worked on a farm. I hated him, right off. I probably would have hated him if he was the best guy in the world, though. The other girl, she was tall, latina, and for some indiscernible reason was interested in the poser farmer.

Most of the time, I'm awful at reading people. But for some reason, at work I can tell you everything about everyone who walks in the door. About who's into who, about who had a bad day at work. Who wants to get drunk and miserable, who wants to get drunk and happy, who wants to get drunk and start trouble. Maybe it's some magic of the job, maybe it's just how people carry themselves at a bar. Helps with tips, that's for certain. You wingman right, and the money flows in.

Warren, he likes to upsell them drinks when he's doing that. Get them excited about the top shelf. Not me.

"Hey, Rae," I said.

"Luke," she said.

John Deere looked at me like I was the scum of the earth. And maybe I was, but if I was the scum then he was... I don't know, something worse than scum. Wannabe scum.

She introduced me to her friends. Nicole had the afro, her boyfriend was Eric. The girl with bad taste was Irina, and John Deere had some name but honestly it went in one ear and out the other. He was John Deere to me. Yeah, maybe I'm an asshole.

"So, how do you know this guy?" Deere asked, tossing me a look that said I clearly wasn’t good enough to be friend with someone like Rae.

"Oh, he came in just the other day. Adopted the sweetest dog, a bloodhound." She turned to me, flashing that dimple high on her cheek. "How is he? You guys call a truce yet?"

"King's great," I said. "I mean, he's probably at home right now, eating everything I've ever owned, but I figure I was due for a purge anyway, right?"

It was a lame attempt at humor, but Rae laughed.

"What can I get you all? Friend of Rae's is a friend of mine."

 



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About the Author



 

Blake Austin is a guitar playing father of one, who lives in Los Angeles. He's written music for as long as he can remember and was inspired to add book writing to his repertoire. 9 Letters is his debut novel.

For updates: Follow Blake Austin on Facebook here:  http://on.fb.me/1ZUj6sR

 

 

 

 

 

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