Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Harkam's by Chanse Lowell



Harkam's Case #1
Summary:
Adam Latham looks like any other charming, good-looking high school senior, but underneath, there’s a lot more to him than anyone could ever guess. He has an uncontrollable need for constant touch to ground him, to keep the numbers from invading his brain when anxiety gets the better of him.

When Adam resolves to finally complete high school and get his diploma, the social demands amongst his younger peers prove to be much more challenging than he’d imagined.

Lucky for him, his first class holds Marissa Cole, and she’s willing to let him hold her hand so he can keep control. Adam’s family sees him as a danger to himself if not strictly regulated, but to Mari, he’s a boy with the most pure soul—one so intriguing, she can’t resist him, and he quickly steals her heart.

How will she cope when he invades her world and turns her life upside down, unearthing her own past traumas and issues? Will Adam find a way to help her find peace and forgiveness through love, or will their own problems keep them apart?

Harkam's Choice #2
Summary:
Adam Latham knows one thing, and one thing only—he simply has to have Marissa Cole as his own. Not as his school mate, or his girlfriend who lives in his family’s house with him. Her. He needs her to be his wife, and he’ll find a way to make that happen, whether or not his medical condition as Harkham’s unresolved case has improved.

His overwhelming need for Mari’s touch continues unabated. Even as her life grows more complicated—dealing with her father’s issues in another state—Adam becomes more determined that they’ll have a life together after they graduate high school in a few short months.

What will he do when he finds out exactly what past abuse Mari’s suffered? How will he handle it when she falls apart in front of his very eyes? He can only hope to contain the numbers that try to consume him and the violet anxiety attacks that follow, on his own.

How will he deal with his unsupportive family members that rally against his relationship with this damaged girl? Is Dr. Harkham the answer to his questions?

Only Adam knows what it means to live with an undefined disability. Until he finds the key that unlocks the secrets to his past mysteries, will he be able to move on and live a full and happy life with his Mari.

Harkam's Corner #3
Summary:
Adam Latham has the dream life he always wanted. The beautiful, caring wife, cute kid and a nearly complete college education, leading to a promising career. He even owns a house with a garage and a car he can get kinky in with his wife.

Only things aren’t as fabulous as they should be… There’s a client at his dad’s office where Adam works, flirting with him and causing him a lot of anxiety. She’s younger than he is, but she won’t seem to stop making advances, even making him feel crazy at times when she insinuates that the two of them have been intimately involved before.

Adam would never be with this woman. He’s the faithful, dutiful, husband, trying to provide for his family as he prepares to graduate and become a doctor, just like his stepfather, Dustin Latham—Adam’s hero.

So why won’t she go away and stop insisting there’s a past between them? And why does his music keep bothering him? Why, most of all, does he keep composing songs in his head at the drop of an instant and find almost immediate success when his biological father, Thomas Matthews, a former gifted musician and singer, posts those songs on YouTube?

The numbers have shifted into music—invading Adam’s mind, and making it almost impossible to focus on the immediate tasks at hand. But he can’t be mad at the notes. Music is his salvation, and it’s his wife’s, too. But how can he trust it to be his sole source of income or to prove that he’s an intelligent, capable, mature man?

He can’t. He won’t. He’ll be the responsible adult his biological father never was, and he’ll prove he can be a doctor, with Dr. Harkham’s help, and find his own way out of the corner he’s been placed in his entire life—the corner that exists by caging him in with rules and boundaries that make his life almost unbearable and hard to understand.

Harkam's Case
Chapter 1 
     “I’m telling you— it’s simple addition. Watch and I’ll teach you something,” Kendra said, releasing the top two buttons on her already very tight, straining tee shirt.
     “That’s not addition. It’s subtraction.” Mari refused to look at her when this girl was being so childish.
     “No, it’s addition. Because two”— Kendra played with the top edges of her shirt she now made look like lapels of sorts—“ plus two, equals four.” She eyed four jocks heading her way and licked her index and middle finger on her left hand.
     “It’s called addiction— not addition. They’re not here to find out about math.” Mari shook her head. “And you passed Trig last year, how?”
     “Because I know higher authorities, and they’re all about addition, too.” Kendra undid one more button with the flick of her moist fingertips, smirking at the guys almost at her desk.
     Mari scooted as far away as she could. “Good Lord, it’s only the second week of school, and already I’m nauseated by you,” she said under breath.
     Kendra took no notice. She was too busy flirting and raising her voice about three fake octaves higher.
     “C’mon, baby, don’t do this to me. You know I tried calling you last night, but you didn’t answer,” the tallest curly-haired jock said.
     Kendra pretended to frown. “I have no proof. My caller ID was off last night. My dad was mad at me.”
     “Get a cell phone,” one of the other jocks said.
     “Or better yet— get a room,” Mari mumbled and turned away.
     Right as she looked at the doorway, some guy walked in she’d never seen before— and he looked directly at her like he knew her. And not only that— he looked at her like he knew her so intimately, he could remember her taste from across the room.
     A few of the girls quietly gawked at him, and one of them even gasped.
     Mari blinked and glanced down at the floor, the back of her neck breaking out in goose bumps.
     God, her hands were clutching her knees. Why the hell was she reacting this way? It wasn’t like there weren’t hot guys roaming this school daily— many of them perverts who looked at her in a similar way— but this guy?
     She cast him another quick glance, and he was still staring straight at her— with that same ravenous look.
     Fuck! It was scorching, the way his eyes roamed over her face.
     “Who’s that? Do you know him? He looks like he knows you,” Kendra asked, leaning over Mari’s desk toward the new guy standing at the classroom door.
     “Never seen him before in my life, but it looks like he’s taken.” Mari pointed at the girl standing directly behind the said new hottie. This chick was holding his hand, but it was hard to see unless someone was really checking him out— which Mari was. As covertly as possible. “You might as well get over him now.” She shoved her homework away. Kendra could copy off somebody else. Mari was sick of being used this way. “Besides, all your fan club here aren’t going to allow a new guy to move in on you.” She jerked her head to the big burly guys all leaving to take their seats now, since the teacher was telling everyone to be quiet and sit down.
     Kendra moved back to her seat two rows down, but her eyes remained on that student.
     Just watching her ogle the new boy made Mari exhale with an exhausted sound as she stretched her neck from side to side.
     The short, black-haired girl holding the new guy’s hand was whispering something into his ear with urgency, and he looked furious. His hand tightened on hers as she tried to propel him forward. He buckled his legs and a few veins popped out on his forearms.
     “Stop it,” he hissed at her.
     It was kind of fun to watch since she was a tiny, dark version of a Keebler Elf, and he was an auburn-haired version of the Jolly Green Giant. From Mari’s vantage point at the top of the row, she could see the petite girl sweating with exertion, but it seemed to be more from mental exhaustion rather than physical, though that looked rough too. He wasn’t a mammoth guy really, just tall, but definitely fit like he was a runner or something.
     “No. I can’t. I won’t,” he said, craning his head over his shoulder toward the pushy runt.
     “You can. I have every faith in you. We’ve talked about this for weeks.” The dark-haired girl blew out with a puff of her cheeks. “Now, I’m going to bring you to your seat, and you’re going to sit down and behave.”
     He shook his head and looked about ready to burst into tears.
     Out of nowhere, the students near the middle of the aisle scooted away from him as he was cajoled into moving up the middle of the row in the stadium-seating type of classroom.
     “It’s not right. I can’t do something this scary. You said it would be different— you said it would be smaller,” the boy whined, still trying to dig his heels in and not move another inch.
    Was he afraid of heights or something? Or was it how many students were in here? Maybe he was shy?
     Mari studied him. He had to be on some sort of medication if he had some severe phobia, right?
     Her heart squeezed at the thought of this teenaged boy having to take anxiety medicine just to go to high school. The poor guy.
     Another student shuffled out of his way, looking at the new kid like he had the bubonic plague.
     But not Mari. She leaned toward him. “He can sit here,” she said without thinking, pointing at the vacant seat next to her as she perched on her own from the top level.
     Mari pulled out the empty chair, and the struggling woman pointed to their right. “See? That’s your seat right there. I bet you’ll be able to see great from that spot since you’re on the end of the row.”
     Mari’s teeth ground together when she realized that the way the woman talked to him was not like a girlfriend would— but more like an authority figure.
     Who did she think she was? The authority on stressed-out teenaged boys?
     “I can’t do this without you,” he protested a little louder, gripping onto his girlfriend’s wrists.
     “You can too. It’s only a forty-minute class.” His girl gave him a condescending look, her jaw tightening.
     “Forty-two,” he corrected her.
     “Okay, forty-two. And I’ll run right over here as soon as I’m done.” She lowered her head, staring in his eyes with a forceful tone in her voice.
     He swallowed, but in no way looked prepared to handle what was tantamount to the lion’s den to him. Clearly, he was scared shitless.
     Not that Mari blamed him. This class was nothing but shit to her. Too easy.
     Maybe he was bumped up from a lower -level math class, and now that it was real, he was having a change of heart? And maybe this girl was just a friend of his with a kind soul and a stern voice.
     Maybe Mari was far too interested in the dynamics between these two people beside her, and maybe she should mind her own goddamned business.
     But instead, she watched them intently, poring over every detail and filing it away in her memory in case she needed any of it later.
     His brows scrunched together and his bottom lip trembled. “But who will hold my hand? I need it!” He clung to the dark-haired girl and kept his eyes on her as she managed to maneuver him into the seat.
     It was crazy how she was able to move him around with relative ease considering he was at least a full head taller than her.
     She leaned over, kissed his cheek then patted it with her free hand.
     “Hold your own hands.” She smiled, and it was so tender and filled with affection that Mari felt slightly uncomfortable witnessing it. “They’re already nice and warm. It’ll work. Trust me.” She nodded.
     “How will I take notes then?” he asked as he wobbled in his chair.
     Was he going to grab for her and make a bigger scene?
     Mari’s spine stiffened, and she moved her feet into a better position in case she needed to scramble out of their way.
     The woman pulled out her iPhone and set it at the outer corner of the table. “I’ll record the lecture for you. Then you can transcribe the notes later. It’ll give us something fun to do later together.”
     Together. Shit. They really were an item.
     Why did that matter to Mari so much? She didn’t even know the dude’s name. And even if she did, would it honestly matter?
     Nope. Not at all.
     She leaned a little closer to him to get a whiff.
     Jesus, he smelled insanely good. Not a ton of cologne like most high school boys wore, but he smelled clean, crisp. Almost like the creosote bushes after a rain storm in the desert.
     She slipped her hand out of his, but he snatched it right back again. His sudden movement caused a waft to pass over in Mari’s direction. Oh, how she loved that intoxicating smell.
     “I don’t like this classroom. It smells like too many numbers.” He shivered.
     Mari wrinkled her nose. How odd was it that she had just leaned in to get a bigger whiff of him, and here he was now, talking about smells. And what did that mean— too many numbers? Were they speaking in some kind of code?
     Mari couldn’t help edging toward them even more. The sound of his voice was hypnotic, even when he was complaining and was very edgy about pretty much everything.
     “That’s the point. The numbers like you, and they’ll keep you happy.” Dark-haired girl stepped back and wiggled her hand free again. “I’m going now, but I’ll be back soon. See how high you can count while I’m gone. Impress me. I dare ya.” She grinned.
     “It’s gonna be really high,” he said, and there was a small hint of amusement in his tone.
     “I can’t wait to hear what it is when I get back.” She gave him a thumbs-up and a really cheesy wink.
     He giggled. He actually let out a very masculine sounding giggle. Was that normal? Were men allowed to do that and not look mortified with themselves afterward?
     He didn’t seem to care at all.
     Mari tried to keep a blank expression and not let him see she was still checking him out and very impressed with him for some dopey reason.
     “Samara?” he called after his retreating girlfriend.
     “Yeah?” She stopped and turned to him.
     “I’ll miss you.” He folded his hands in his lap.
     “I’ll miss you, too,” she said, then almost ran out the door.
     Was she embarrassed? Was it because of his shameless giggle? How absurd. Who cared? If he didn’t, then nobody else should. Especially not her if she truly cared about him.
     Mari’s back heated as she thought about how that girl should’ve been more understanding with him and even a little more patient.
     Scratch, scratch, scratch . . .
     The sounds of the teacher writing the homework on the board was a good distraction since her mind kept circling around the guy next to her no matter how much she tried to think about other things.
     It was hard to ignore him when each time she took a breath, his amazing smell would waft toward her.
     Was he fanning his scent her way and timing it with each inhale she took?
     She blinked, held her breath and turned her attention back to the front of the classroom. This guy meant nothing to her. She didn’t know him, and he’d be nothing more than classmate she barely spoke to all year long.
     The teacher cleared his throat, then the lecture began— thank God, because the guy next to her seemed to be somehow closer to her. His arm was a few inches from hers. She could feel his body heat radiating off him.
     For some reason, the thought of him sweating sounded more appealing than she wanted to admit.
     “Ahhh,” the boy said and relaxed into his chair a little bit. “Yeah.” He nodded. “This is better.” His chair moved closer to hers.
     And that’s when things started to get really interesting.
     She wanted to turn her head and scowl at him— tell him to fuck off, but then he sounded so delighted to be near her.
     Why would he feel that way?
     Instead of tensing up, she kind of went lax, too.
     “Better. Much better,” he said with a husky sound to his voice.
     Well, great. Just perfect. Now he was making her eyelids go heavy on her just by glancing over at him and seeing nothing more than a very satisfied-looking teenager. Once more, he was staring at her unabashedly.
     She slowly moved her gaze over his chest. Next she traced her eyes over every muscle twitch in his hands. Damn, he had strong, gorgeous-looking hands. She always was drawn to a guy with nice , capable hands. The slight shape of the veins that crept up his forearms was entrancing, too. So far, there was little she could find wrong with him, other than the fact he liked to zero in on her face quite a bit without any shame whatsoever.
     She set her hands on the desk and tapped out a quiet, nervous beat.
     Was time slowing on purpose, just to torture her?
     She blew out as silently as she could.
     He turned away from her, but still sat very close.
     So what ? Some people didn’t have any iota of what personal space meant. Maybe he was one of those types . As long as he kept smelling this good, she would be able to deal with it all year long, no problem.
     “Man,” he huffed to himself a moment later, staring at the teacher with a bored, yet slightly annoyed look on his face.
     What was bothering this unusual boy now? Was he upset time was crawling by as well?
     She scanned the desk, trying to figure out what was making him sound this way and breathe louder.
     Ah, the phone his snot of a girlfriend left behind wasn’t recording. His hands were shaking as he held them clasped in his lap.
     Boy, he sure did swing from one end of the mood spectrum to the other in record time. One minute he was saying everything was better and looking all cozy and pleased— the next, he acted like he was dying of brain-numbing boredom and lack of patience.
     She leaned forward, moved up and out of her seat to set it right for him, doing her best to ignore the purple sparkles on the phone case that was entirely too uppity and girlie.
     No guy would be caught dead with a phone like this— ever.
     Should she remove the case for him? Would that set him more at ease?
     She considered asking, but instead just went for it. He was most likely the type that didn’t ask for help. Too macho for that. She reached for the phone.
     “What are you doing?” the new guy barked.
     “I’m pressing record for you so you’ll have your notes and removing this case so it won’t blind you. This way you don’t have to let go of your hands, and you won’t have to admit you were near a phone that belongs in an obnoxious, overpriced nightclub where the girls wear neon pink thongs to match their acrylic nails,” she explained.
     He didn’t make it easy as she leaned over him. In fact, her right breast brushed up against his arm twice as she maneuvered her body into awkward angles to get around him.
She finally got the iPhone set up and when she sat back down, he was staring straight at her with a blank expression.
     His sapphire blue eyes were alarming with how much they penetrated straight into her. No one in her entire life had ever studied her face for as long as this boy had.
     Was he angry at her for touching his Samara’s stuff? Was that what this was all about?
     “Look I’m sorry, but I . . .” Forget it. He wasn’t responding, so they were probably beyond friendship since she’d stepped over his invisible line of what was okay with him, even though her personal space was nothing to him.
     When she gazed back, the brightest, purest blue eyes startled her even more. He was smiling, and it lit up his entire face. Those eyes were now soft and grateful— tender, somehow.
     “I like you,” he whispered, but it was a loud, scratchy whisper Mari was sure the whole class heard, including the teacher. “You’re nice to sit by. This is a good spot. You were smart to pick it.”
     “Thank you,” she whispered back, much quieter.
     He smiled bigger and his shoulders rose a little.
     Wow— he was adorable when he grinned like that with a childlike innocence that was so authentic, it made her heart expand in her ribcage.
     “Do you like me?” he asked. “It’s okay— you can tell me. I won’t tell anyone your answer.”
     “Uhhh . . . Sure.”
     She picked up her pencil and began tapping it. Her gaze went to the teacher , but for several minutes she was sure the boy next to her, seated on the right, was still focused entirely on her.
     An electric current must have been moving over her arms, because they were breaking out in chills and the hair follicles were almost on end. But not in a scared way. More like . . . Well, she didn’t know what.
     This was all new to her.
     All she knew was that it was hard to take notes and concentrate with him doing that.
     “You have nice eyes. They tell me you like me, so I know you’re telling the truth. Thanks for that,” he said.
      Her breath barely leaked out of her. If she said something else, would that encourage him and this— whatever this exchange was?
     “What’s your name?” he asked a few moments later, this time in a softer voice.
     “Marissa Cole, but I go by Mari. What’s yours?” She kept her eyes on the teacher. Not because she was being a dutiful student, though she usually was, but because this guy was gorgeous and totally disarming.
     “Adam. Adam Latham, and I like you . I know I already told you that, but I wanted to make sure you know I really mean it. You’re nice.” His folded hands landed with a soft thud on their table.
     “You’re nice too, Adam.” She cleared her throat and tucked her head down, causing her long brown hair to fall forward.
     She was relieved to have something between them. A barrier helped her breathe.
     “Ms. Cole, answer please,” the teacher said in a gruff tone.
     “It’s umm . . .” Had he called her name before now? How had she missed that?
     “It’s pi, and the remainder is so tiny, it’s not worth looking at,” Adam answered for her.
     “Well done, Mr. Latham,” the teacher said with a smile. His eyes twinkled at the the new student.
     Mari’s eyes flashed over to her table-mate, expecting a grin. Instead, he was staring at her hands, and he looked as if he’d been doing it the entire time while he had answered the teacher’s question relating to the lecture.
     “You have nice hands,” Adam said. This time he was quiet— she barely heard him. “They’re very graceful. Not long enough to play piano easily, but they’re still really pretty.”
     “They are?” Her voice went up in pitch, and her brow furrowed.
     “I like it when girls have short nails instead of long, fake ones. Samara always keeps hers nice and short. They’re neat and trim. Feels good when she scratches my back for me.”
     She swallowed a grunt at the reminder that he had a girlfriend and they were most likely intimate.
     He studied her hands further. Was he working something out in his head, because he kept narrowing his eyes and squinting. “Can I hold one of them? Would that bother you?” He extended his left hand.
     “No, I don’t mind, but how will I take notes?” She realized after she blurted this dorky answer, that she did in fact mind. What was he doing asking this of her when he had a girlfriend?
     “We can swap seats since I write with my left hand and then you can write with your dominant one.” He smiled in such a cheerful way, her mind was wiped clean of objections.
      “A-a-all right— we can do that,” she stammered.
     They quickly swapped, and he moved with a grace and fluidity that seemed odd for somebody as tall as he was. He had to be over six feet by a few inches.
     “There. I’m seated. Give me your hand, please,” he said, his eyes filled with hope and expectancy.
      Her fingers flexed, but she kept her hand steady as she extended it under the table toward him.
     He took it with a greedy yank, tucking it into his side, under his arm. His bicep clamped down over their conjoined hands. Was she ever going to see that left hand of hers again, ‘cause he was gripping it awfully tight.
     His unusual handholding was not as baffling as when he angled his body away from her like he didn’t want to be anywhere near her. And his chair at some point was scooted farther away as well.
     Did she smell bad? Did he think she was ugly to look at?
     Or did she say something wrong?
     Question after question flooded her brain through the remainder of the class. When the bell rang, he sprung up from his desk and tightened his hold on her hand.
     “It’s lunch time,” he said.
     “Not for me. I have lunch fifth period,” she said.
     “I’ll go get that changed for you.” He tugged on her hand.
     She managed to grab her backpack and then he started leading her down the large steps. There was no time to think— only keep pace with him so she didn’t trip and face-plant.
     “I can’t change my schedule for you, Adam. Have you forgotten you have a girlfriend?”
     He turned abruptly, swinging around in a wild way and faced her with their noses only two inches apart. “You could be my girlfriend. I’d like that.”
     “I . . . I, um . . .” She had to look away from his piercing blue eyes. It was like looking into a mesmerizing, hypnotic gem that held her spellbound.
     He marched her out the door and straight to the office.
     Had he heard a word she’d said?
     Adam bypassed the two students waiting in line to talk to the office secretary.
     “I need to see my guidance counselor now. It’s an emergency,” Adam told her.
     “Oh my . . . And you are?” The secretary straightened her glasses that were already straight.
     Her too? He was having an effect on an old woman? Jesus, he was too good-looking to be walking around this place.
     “I’m new here, and my name’s Adam Latham. I need to see Mr. Perez right away.” Adam tucked Mari’s hand that was almost knotted permanently with his back under his arm again. It was warm there, but they looked like a couple of nutballs.
     The secretary did as he asked, and Mari’s jaw hung open. How did he do that?
     Within moments they were in the guidance counselor’s office, and Mari was barely able to speak a word, let alone take a solid breath. Adam was like a tornado in the middle of the desert— whipping up a cloud of dust so thick nobody could see, and she was definitely disoriented.
     “I’m sorry, young man, but I can’t change her lunch. She’s locked in based on her electives,” the counselor said.
     “But we have to have lunch together. See!” Adam pulled her hand out, and when their entwined hands were in front of Mr. Perez’s face, Adam took a huge breath. Mari swore she could see his ribs almost reaching out for her hand, begging them to return.
     “See what?” Mr. Perez stared and blinked— nothing more.
     Yeah— she knew the feeling.
     “I have to hold her hand. I feel safe when people I like hold my hand or touch me. I like her. My sister, Samara, she’s sick of doing that for me like I’m a baby. I need Mari to give her a break.”
     Mari’s eyes went wide. Sister? And whoa! Who said anything about her giving his sister a break for anything? This almost sounded like a full-time position he was putting her in.
     “I’m not—” she began.
     Adam tucked her hand back in again. He’d make an excellent mother hen— enfolding his little chicks under his wings. But that was hardly the point . . .
     “She’s naturally kind. She already helped me get through the last period. I couldn’t have done it without her. You’re supposed to guide and be a counselor and do what’s best for your students.” Adam stared him down. “So, you should allow this. It’s what’s best for me and for her. She likes me, too. She already told me she does.”
     Uh . . . Were her words being twisted around and used against her? Her back heated, and her hands tried to ball up, but Adam wasn’t allowing it. He grabbed both of her hands. “We’re connected. And not in a sick way. In a wholesome, helping way. I’m nice to her. I won’t hurt her. Can’t you see how beneficial this is for everyone involved?”
     Mr. Perez’s eyelashes fluttered, and he looked like his brain was going as fast as it could, trying to keep up with this boy.
     “But I—”
     “I need you,” Adam said, shutting her up. “Please, Mr. Perez. I’ve got a note in my file. It should be in the computer. I have a disorder. And this helps me get through the day here without an episode.      No medications can do what she just did for me.”
     Mr. Perez typed in a few things and then was instantly busy reading. Mari seized the opportunity.
     She turned to Adam . “Samara’s your sister— not your girlfriend?” She released a pent-up breath.      God, it felt good to breathe . She needed to figure out how to do that around him more often. He made it difficult sometimes.
     Adam smiled and nodded like it was about time she caught on, but there something very child-like and sincere about it. His eyes shimmered with adoration, not condescension. He was being patient with her.
     Yeah, she liked him. How could she not? He was incredibly sweet. “It’s nice to be needed. You’ll like that I need you so much.” He pursed his lips a little bit.
     Was he smirking?
     And when did she become the lost one here? She had been attending this school for three years now. She was a senior, and as such, she knew how things went around here. So how did Adam make her feel lost within a few moments?
     “Okay, that might be, but I need to know— you guys hold hands to help you out? Your sister normally does that for you in public?” She softened her voice so she wouldn’t sound judgmental. Really, she didn’t care if they did that. Not now that she knew they were related. She was honestly curious.
     He nodded once more.
     “How does it help you?”
     “I get agitated and nervous. Skin-to- skin contact soothes the nervous system, quieting my responses so I feel safe and can concentrate. I tested your hand. It works really well. It’s a nice one. Soft and not too stiff. I’d like to hold it more. And lunch time would be good, because I get really jittery in large cafeterias filled with girls staring at me. It’ll be good practice for you, too.”
     Mari shook her head. “I bet they stare. What about guys? It doesn’t bother you if they stare?”
     “No. They don’t like me. They only give me nasty looks if their girlfriends are looking at me. I ignore those ones, though.” He angled himself toward Mr. Perez like he was done answering her questions.
     Had her time expired?
     And what was this disorder? It sounded almost made up.
     “Oh, I see. Yeah, um . . . Let me just . . .” Mr. Perez said while typing away . A moment later his eyes rose to meet Adam’s. Then he continued on in a more coherent way. “I’m changing your schedule, not hers. You have more flexibility. Of course, it means you’ll be in less of your sister’s classes but in more of Mari’s.”
     “Show me,” Adam said.
     Mr. Perez seemed fine with Adam’s curt, demanding tone. He printed out the schedule, then placed it in Adam’s free hand.
     Mari could barely make out some notes the counselor had added at the bottom of the schedule change for any teacher Adam gave this list to.
     “These are a step down intellect-wise , but it’ll be good for me,” Adam said, nodding. “Thank you.      My father might call you with a few words, but I’m sure I can convince him this is for the best. Lunch hour is the most important for me.” And a second later, Adam strung her out the door behind him and walked at a pace no mortal teenage girl could match.
     She stumbled along behind him until they bumped into a crying Samara.
     “Adam! Where were you? I was so worried. I was looking for you everywhere! I was about to call Dad!” Samara pulled him into a tight hug and seemed oblivious to Adam and Mari’s conjoined hands up against his side.
     It seemed Mari was going to be chained to this boy whether she wanted to or not. Family get-togethers were bound to be interesting for him when they asked who the stray was he’d picked up from school.


I read all three of these books one right after the other so that's how I'll review them, as one long book.  Adam and Mari had my heart from the very beginning.  It was very enlightening and heartwarming to see a character that has a disability as the main character.  I love how the author has blended both Adam and Mari's separate identities and personal dramas into an interesting pair and yet they still manage to keep their own identities too.  I found the writing style to be very easy flowing and had me not wanting there to ever be a last page.  Adam and Mari and the rest of the motley crew that Miss Lowell has created in the Harkam series, will stick with this reader for some time to come.

RATING: 

Author Bio:
Chanse Lowell grew up in the desert southwest and still lives there with her children. She’s addicted to five things—her Daddy Dom, learning more about the BDSM lifestyle, reading erotica, writing erotica and sandwiches with a side of erotica to aid with digestion before she’s tied up in black silk ropes and teased endlessly by her Sir. She grew up watching programs with science fiction and historical fiction themes, and enjoys combining her three favorite genres, creating a new breed of novel with scifi, historical and smut sandwiched in the middle.

The last thing she ever thought she’d do was pursue her dream to be a writer since her family tends to keep her busy. But having recently entered the BDSM lifestyle and discovering she’s a submissive babygirl herself has opened her eyes to how few stories there are exploring the softer side of the lifestyle and how most inaccurately portray the Dom/sub dynamics in a monogomous relationship. She felt it her duty to share what she’s learned and adores about the BDSM lifestyle. Along with her new mission to write about the joys in this beautiful world of dominance and submission, she also loves chatting online with others with similar kinky interests and has advisers in the lifestyle that help make sure her stories remain true and don’t veer off into outer space. Although aliens probably enjoy kink, too, since they like to dress in rubber fetish-wear while traveling. At least that’s her argument for why her new genre she’s created is valid.


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EMAIL: chanselowell@hotmail.com



Harkam's Case

Harkam's Choice

Harkam's Corner

Cover Re-Reveal: Infernal Ice by Joceline Farrah

Title: Infernal Ice
Author: Joceline Farrah
Series: The Stygian Chronicles
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 18, 2014
Summary:
Beneath the sun kissed skies and the glamour of South Beach, Stygians and mortals co-exist under an uneasy alliance. Governed by strict rules known as Stygian Protocol, they live by one most sacred and cardinal rule: Never comingle with mortals.

Grief stricken, caseworker Jessa Belle Jones loses herself in her job, after the love of her life, Scott Dempsey disappears without a trace. When her father announces her betrothal to Abbandon, the General of the Stygian Armies, Jessa-Belle turns to Havah, the Tinseller to thwart her father’s plan by finding her own Stygian noble to marry.

Wrought with vengeance, Stygian Raum Corvus searches for retribution against the dark mage who took everything he’d cherished.
But when destiny links Raum’s path to Jessa’s plight, will fate keep them together or will Stygian conventions rip them apart?

Author Bio:
Joceline Farrah is an avid reader of all of things paranormal. She draws inspiration for her stories from her own hometown magic city Miami Beach, FL. With pen to paper, she creates worlds where beings are as magical as the realms they inhabit.When she isn’t plotting new ideas for a novel or crocheting, she enjoys a good game of Chess and a nice cup of Chai tea.


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Release Day Blitz: Sophisticated for the Night by CJ Fallowfield

Title: Sophisticated for the Night
Author: CJ Fallowfield
Series: For the Night #5
Genre: Erotica
Release Date: February 14, 2015

***Warning: Contains Adult Themes ~ Suitable for 18+ Only***
Summary:
My name is Logan Steele. I’m devilishly handsome, seriously ripped, well hung, charismatic and highly sexed. Women just can’t resist me. So when I lost my job in the construction industry and was struggling for cash, I decided to put my assets to good use.

By day I’m a private personal fitness trainer. By night I’m a high class gigolo.

Tell me your fantasy, I’ll fulfil it ~ So, who do you want me to be?”

Sophisticated for the Night
It had been over nine months since I’d deflowered Summer Beresford, in her Virgin for the Night fantasy. Nine months where she’d plagued my thoughts, both in my personal and professional life. I’d resolved to never take another booking from her, I’d never gotten emotionally attached to a client before, it didn’t bode well for me. Especially not when she obviously just saw me as the guy she paid to take her virginity and nothing else. I didn’t take rejection well. When I read that her co-star Daron Beck had set his sights on her and planned to accompany her to their movie premiere next week, it made my blood boil. His reputation for sleeping with his leading ladies, was nearly as legendary as my reputation for being the best in the business. He, on the other hand, wasn’t so respectful of women. The thought of him putting his hands on her, if he hadn’t already, or treating her badly, made my mind up. I was about to do something I’d never done, take a former client out without her paying me, and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Next week I’d be accompanying Summer to her premiere, whether she liked it or not.

The novellas are told in alternating points of view of Logan Steele, and his client, or clients. You can pick up any of them for a complete short burst of heat, however in order to fully enjoy Logan’s development they should be read in the sequence that they are released. Starting from October 2014, I will release one per month.

Strangers for the Night
Virgin for the Night
Filthy for the Night
MΓ©nage for the Night
Sophisticated for the Night
Biker for the Night
Dominant for the Night
Actor for the Night







Author Bio:
I write contemporary erotic romance, with humour, which are full of emotion and plenty of drama. I am a 44 year old female from the United Kingdom and live in the wonderful countryside of Wales, surrounded by rolling hills, trees and fields full of sheep and cows. Writing aids include chocolate, Ben & Jerry’s and copious amounts of coffee, wine or cider.


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Email: cjfauthor@btinternet.com



Sophisticated For the Night

Strangers for the Night

Virgin for the Night

Filthy for the Night

Menage for the Night

The Austin Series Box Set

31 Days of Winter

31 Days of Summer
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The Gatekeeper's Key by Alisha Payne & Nick Taylor

Gatekeeper_CVR_MED
Title: The Gatekeeper's Key
Author: Alisha Payne & Nick Taylor
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Cover designer: Steven Novak
Editor: Rebecca

***Content Warning: Sexual situations and bad language. Magical violence***

Summary:
Attacks from Hellish minions have cast the magical world into an uproar. Amid the chaos, Sorceress Krystine Iamides conceals the supernatural from humanity by using her precognitive talents. Unfortunately, luck is not always kind and fate thrusts her alongside her estranged lover while investigating a cult's ritualistic sacrifice.

Detective Jean-Luc Chevalier has a reputation for returning from the dead, as well as stealing Krystine's heart. At first, her psychic ability seems like the right investigative tool to aid his case - until it attracts a demonic entity with a taste for human flesh.

Now, as cult activities risk exposing magical society, it becomes imperative for the ex-lovers to combine their unique gifts to survive the deception at hand. Jean-Luc and Krys must discover the meaning of standing united; for divided, they will fall.


     Jean-Luc capped the end of his penlight and tucked it into his leather jacket, making it too dark to make out his pale features beside her. She sensed him near and enjoyed the warmth of his breath close to her. He may have been a working man, but Krys knew from experience that he had soft, beautiful hands and a soothing touch.
     “Do you trust me?” he whispered suddenly in a low voice. His breath caressed her ear.
     “I do. You know I do.” Her shoulder lifted and her cheek pressed into his hand in the dark. “I’m sorry. I can do this.”
     “I know you can…” Jean-Luc’s thumb continued to sweep tenderly across her skin.
     Within seconds, her racing heart began to calm and the dry lump in her throat eased. Her fears seeped away. In their place, she felt a sort of cool detachment despite the overwhelming odds. There was only one thing she needed to do first.
     A turn of her head and a lift of her hand brought his face to hers. She kissed him, firm and deep, daring to slip her tongue between his lips and enjoy the ardor he reciprocated. Jean-Luc’s kisses were a drug, as fine as her most beloved wine, but Krys pulled away before she completely lost herself. It was hard. Especially, since he had returned the display of affection with equal passion.
     “I missed you, Jean-Luc, and I’m sorry.” She needed to say it. With the danger they headed toward, she needed him to know in case she never got the chance again. “I was going to call you this morning, I swear it.”
     “I… I have missed you too, Krystine.”
     Strange how something so simple meant so much to her. “Thank you for helping us.” Thank you for finding me. Again.
     “There is never a need to thank me for doing what is right. This will go well, cherie, have faith in that.”

Author Bios: 
Nick Taylor enjoys writing as an outlet for her creativity. The works of Tolkien have inspired her and remain among some of her favorite novels. She is a videogamer by nature and enjoys horror movies, the outdoors, animals, and renaissance festivals. Nick currently lives in Texas where she hopes to acquire her registered nursing degree and is the mother of two beautiful children ages nine and eleven.
Alisha Payne loves to read and has always had a fondness for creative writing. She started with poetry and moved up to short stories, before eventually writing novels with her friend Nick. She loves reading a whole range of genres and authors from Tolkien to James Rollins, and blames her love for reading on her mother, who introduced her to the worlds of Pern and Xanth. Alisha is a former Petty Officer of the United States Navy, which is where she met her wonderful husband. She currently resides with her family in Virginia.

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Nick Twitter  /  Alisha Amazon  /  Nick Amazon



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bookcollage
Addison never asked to become a king among the mages in his society. Now he protects the fragile balance between the mundane and supernatural realms. The job is easier said than done, even with the aid of a sultry half-dryad who possesses unique talents of her own. Crumbling truces test boundaries of the new ruler and his elite wizards as they are swept into a treacherous game of loyalty and betrayal. A sinister enemy forges deadly plans for the city of New York, and it will stop at nothing to achieve its wicked desires.
In a world where demons whisper seductions into mortal ears and fae prey upon the desperate with underhanded deals, fate thrusts an ordinary young woman and her child into the center of a building storm. In Manhattan, trolls lurk under more than bridges, gentle nature spirits become killers overnight, and necromancers raise the dead to benefit their insidious plots. To save New York City from ruin, the lives of four strangers must intertwine. If they cannot defeat their own inner demons, then all is lost and the forces of Hell will triumph.

Griffin MacNeil makes his living as a treasure hunter; an adventuring sorcerer with a knack for surviving against the odds. Exploring perilous tombs and ancient ruins for lost treasure is satisfying work, but his thoughts often travel to his first love Aisling, the best friend he left behind.
As the orphaned child of a Changeling, Aisling has a natural talent for the magical arts. Her compassion, generosity, and gift for lifting devilish curses aid her in saving lives as well as mending souls. Unfortunately, she's also inherited a stubborn streak that would make her fae ancestors proud.
Relentless mage-hunters sabotage Griffin's most recent quest in Egypt, with fatal consequences for those around him. After a rough recovery, chance throws Griffin right into Aisling's path. The unexpected meeting allows them to rekindle their friendship, but their reunion is bittersweet. With trained mercenaries annihilating wizard-kind and a demon-summoning cult on his heels, Griffin needs more than a Faerie girl and his lucky gold coin to keep ahead of danger.

For centuries, the peaceful Wakani people have enjoyed the protection granted by the nagual - fierce tribal champions able to shapeshift to a feline shape. Among them, a man named Felipe struggles to find his place and create his own path. Young, headstrong, and too inquisitive for his own good, Felipe's life takes a dangerous turn after a seductive encounter with a mysterious explorer.
Dynamite, guns, and the spread of invading civilization are only some of the perils threatening Felipe's tribe. Another hungry danger lurks just beyond the village boundaries, and it eagerly awaits the chance to make the whole tribe its prey. The inexperienced warrior becomes torn between duty and desire, but his beguiling adventurer's past makes them natural enemies. Can they overcome their differences in time to face the greater danger... or will a sinister presence consume them all?

This book occurs between The Collector's Treasure and The Gatekeeper's Key, but it may be read as a standalone series of short stories. Stories 1 and 3 contain adult content.
Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas! Take a step away from reality and enjoy these magical holiday-themed paranormal stories starring characters from A Spellbound Consortium.
A wizard cowboy named Noah enjoys a special night with his lady on Christmas Eve. Lachlan, the fairy hound, makes a new friend in the most unlikely place. The psychic journalist Krys has a special dance with the object of her affection.

In the distant future, the nations of Earth have merged beneath a single ruling body: the United Empire. Under the protection of Her Majesty's Galactic Navy, humanity has spread across our stars and entered a new Golden Age of prosperity and peaceful colonization.
Doctor Victor del Toro rose from nothing to escape poverty and a childhood on the streets. He serves the galaxy as one of the Navy's leading cyberneticists and views the Royal Marines as his family. But that doesn't mean they're privileged to know his career is a comfort from his turbulent past.
Born to influential parents, Zoe Raines' childhood dream was to make a difference without her father's money. To avoid an arranged marriage, she enlisted and risked her life to save a fellow marine, sacrificing a limb in the process. Her new prosthetic places her under Doctor del Toro's watchful eye - and his talented hands.
Age and rank should divide them, but Victor needs Zoe for reasons beyond their mutual attraction. Danger is on the rise in the galaxy, and the mass abduction of entire colonies leads to one staggering fact: someone out there has targeted cybernetic recipients. It falls to Victor to solve the mystery. With Zoe as his empathetic ear and the gun to guard his back, the doctor must discover the whereabouts of the missing cyborgs and heal his own damaged soul.
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Release Day Blitz: Valentine in Love by Ami C Samuel

Title: Valentine in Love
Author: Ami C Samuel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 15, 2015
Summary:
Beautiful Valentine Dupond is haunted by her name.
“Valen-teeen…”she keeps telling people in her scrumptious French accent, “My name is Valen-teeeeen!”

And Valentine doesn’t just have a romantic name; she speaks French the language of love…
Only, her love life is very far from exciting, in fact she does not have one.

Lovely Valentine is a vegetarian veterinarian in Perth, Australia, and lives with a fat cat and a dance crazed-housemate with two left feet.

So where is “l’amour”,you may ask?
Where is the wild romance?
Where, oh WHERE is the French kissing!!!

Well, hold your horses, girls, cause gorgeous red-hot millionaire Joshua Hudgewich is about to enter stage-left and sweep Valentine right off her dancing shoes. Though not without some Drama, of course, and leaving a few dents and bruises on Valentine's tender heart...


Author Bio:
Ami C. Samuel is the pen-name of a beautiful, bubbly Mauritian lady; so lovely you'd be forgiven for mistaking her for one of her heroines! Living in Paradise has inspired Ami to write deliciously funny and light-hearted romances, all with a Tropical twist...

Valentine in Love is her first novel published with WDA, with a second delicious romantic adventure Crystal-balls & Croissants on its way, and a third already in the works! freshly been published, and a third is already in the works.





A signed copy of Valentine in Love and  
Swarovski Crystal Heart Pendant

**If the winner neglects to respond in 24 hours of notification
 the prize will be forwarded to the runner up**

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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