Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dead Girl Walking by Ruth Silver

Title: Dead Girl Walking
Author: Ruth Silver
Series: Royal Reaper #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Summary:
Forget everything you know about grim reapers.

Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered.

Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death.

Includes the prequel Ashes to Ashes as a bonus story.


“Listen, kid, I don’t care what you believe in. It’s not for me to say what’s true and untrue, real or unreal. My assignment was you. You get to be one of us, if you want it. Otherwise, you move on, life is over, kaput.”

Ophelia backed away from the stranger. For the first time, she realized she didn’t feel cold and wasn’t shivering. Is this what being dead was like? “One of you?”

“A grim reaper.” He held out his hand to properly introduce himself. “Edon Montgomery, head reaper and old soul.”


Author Bio:
Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of the Aberrant trilogy. With a passion for writing and a love of story-telling, Ruth is actively writing two series: Royal Reaper and Orenda. She also writes The Federal Agent Chronicles, an adult romance series under the name Ravyn Rayne for Blushing Books. Her interests include traveling, reading, and photography. Her favorite vacation destination is Australia. Ruth currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois.


Ruth Silver
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Release Day Blitz: Wild Pitch by Sloan Johnson

Title: Wild Pitch
Author: Sloan Johnson
Series: Homeruns #1
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: June 18, 2015
Summary:
There’s never been any question in Sean Tucker’s mind that he’d do whatever it took to make it to the major leagues and be one of the best pitchers of his time. The day he acknowledged to himself that he was gay was also the day he vowed to stay in the closet in order to chase his dreams. The problem is, he never counted on Mason Atley.

Sean showed rookie short stop Mason Atley the ropes, both on the field and off. The two forged a friendship which continued as both of them moved through the ranks of the farm system and into the majors. Unfortunately, there’s always been one secret Mason never felt he could share with Sean. Until now.

For seven years, Sean lived with the fact that he loved a man who would never reciprocate. When Mason admits that he’s always known he’s bisexual but has never allowed himself to pursue a relationship with a man, will Sean be able to put aside his reservations about starting a relationship with the friend he’d always assumed was straight? And more importantly, will they be able to find a way to stay together when their careers keep them apart more than they can be together?


“Are you saying what I think you are?” I asked, my mind still holding me back from pushing him back on the couch to give him what he seemed to be begging for. My fingers tangled through his hair, holding him so his face was barely an inch away from mine. I feared that, if I let go, the trance would be broken and I’d never know what it felt to press my body against his.

“Yeah, I think I am.” Throwing caution to the wind, I placed my hands on his shoulders and shoved him back. His wavy hair felt like silk under my fingers as I plundered his mouth with a crushing kiss. He moaned as his hips bucked against mine, just as desperate for release as I felt. A surge of connection jolted through my body, from my mouth all the way down to my cock, urging me to claim him. There’d be time for regrets later, but if this was what Mason wanted, I would be the one to give it to him.

My cock begged to be freed from the confines of my jeans, pleaded with my hands to reach between our bodies and pull his sweats over his hips, but I couldn’t. Just like my performance earlier in the day, I allowed someone else to weasel his way into my mind and I choked.

“Mace, we can’t do this,” I said with more than a trace of resignation behind the words. “I don’t want you doing something with me because you think it’ll take my mind off what happened earlier. You deserve better than that. If you’re really interested in guys, that’s awesome, but I can’t be your guinea pig. You mean too much to me for me to lose you when you decide you want to go back to women. I wouldn’t be able to stand being pushed aside because your tastes change.”

Mason’s face contorted as if he’d eaten something sour. “Dude, you make it sound like it’s a banquet dinner and I’m going to decide I picked the wrong entrĂ©e! Why can’t life be a buffet? If I’m in the mood for a steak, I’ll have the steak. If I want the salmon, I’ll grab a piece of that. Life’s short, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to get to St. Peter and regret never trying steak. Unfortunately for me, the only cut I’m interested in is you.”

“See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about,” I countered. “Let’s keep going with your ridiculous analogy, because you seem to focus better when we’re talking about food… what happens when you try the steak, only to decide that you can’t stand it? What if you realize that what you thought was steak was closer to a nasty fast-food burger? I don’t want to take that chance.”







Author Bio:
Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.

When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.

Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?

Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.


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Stalker by Clarissa Wild

Title: Stalker
Author: Clarissa Wild
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Summary:
Fuck me once, I'll fuck you twice … then I'll bury you.

No prison can keep me from seeking revenge. Especially when it comes to her.

She, the woman who put me in jail.

I swore that I’d come for her, to claim what belongs to me: Her life.

I’m not a good man. On the contrary, I love to be bad. It’s in my veins. Just like it’s in my veins to ruin her.

She’s an actress, pretending to be a saint, but we both know that isn’t true. One way or another, she’ll pay for what she did.

I will hunt for her. Make her fear me. Make her body mine.

Bad deeds never go unpunished … And I always go out with a bang.

WARNING: This book is a DARK ROMANCE STANDALONE - it has a non-conventional ending. This isn't rainbow sprinkles & unicorn fluff. It's a dark, thrilling journey of two people clashing over love, lust, and hatred. Heed the warning. Contains graphic violence, alcohol, drugs & other disturbing content.

No Cliffhanger. Stand Alone.

#1
     I use the knife as a marker, drawing a pattern without drawing blood. Her eyes anxiously follow the tip, as if she’s trying to prepare for something. The thing is that she’ll never know when it’s coming. That look on her face, priceless. So torturous, the way she’s unraveling bit by bit … it’s like food for my soul.
     Sweat trickles down her skin, and then when I let the tip puncture her skin just a tiny bit, she squeals. But I know it doesn’t hurt that much. I’ve tried this on myself plenty of times. Always have to know what the things I do to my victims feel like. Of course, the fear is taking over her sense of rationalizing. She’s letting it control her instead of experiencing it for what it is. Fear is excitement. Fear is a part of our souls. Fear makes us feel alive.
     And she should be grateful that she’s still alive.
     It’s all in my hands. With one slice, I could kill her right here, right now. But I don’t.
     Instead, I lean in and suckle the blood off her skin, kissing her softly, letting my tongue slide all across her belly.
     She squirms underneath me; her body arches to meet my mouth, but her mind is still focusing on the fear.
     “Stop thinking, Vanessa,” I say. “It’s not doing you any good right now.”
     “What are you doing?” she asks.
     “What does it look like?” I say, ripping off her skirt so I can see her pretty pussy. “I’m enjoying you to the fullest.”
     “By sucking my blood?”
     I frown, waving the knife in the air. “You know, you should really consider the fact that I could’ve killed you already. You might want to think about that as I gorge myself on your pussy.”
     She swallows. “What’s to say that you won’t kill me now?”
      I smile. “I just like seeing the fear in your eyes, Princess. Nothing more.” I bring the knife to my mouth and lick the blade. I can taste her blood, and my own, as the sharpness cuts through my own flesh, but I don’t care. I’m lost in ecstasy, living on the edge, wanting to jump off with her.
     She shivers, her lips quivering as I bring the knife down to her face. “C’mon sweet cheeks, smile for me,” I say.
     The right side of her lip curls up into a fake smile, which does not move me even one bit. Damn her; normally, she’s as fake as can be, able to perform without flaw, and now real emotions suddenly overcome her?
     Fuck her.
     I ram the knife into the table next to her head, causing her to close her eyes. “Look at me,” I say. “Open your eyes, Princess.”
     They peel open slowly. “Please … Phoenix.”
     “Please what? You don’t like it when I want to lick the blood from your skin? You should be flattered.”
     She shakes her head.
     “I don’t fucking believe you,” I snap, grabbing her pussy with one hand, which makes her jolt up. “I bet this pussy here will tell me the truth.”
     “No,” she says, still shaking.
     “What are you so afraid of?” I muse. “This knife? Blood? Pain? Death? What?”
     “You.”
     The way she says it, without any doubt, takes me by surprise, and for a moment, I don’t know what to say. I thought she’d say pain, or even death, but instead, she says something that causes my heart to shrivel up and die. At least, it feels like that. Like my heart is burning a hole in her chest. That or her eyes. Either way, I’m fucked now. I started feeling something I shouldn’t have.
     I lean in to look her in the eyes. “Can’t you feel the excitement rushing through your body? The adrenaline pumping through your veins? Isn’t it so much better than the lifeless statue-like doll you’ve been these past few years?”
     “I …” she stutters. “I don’t know.”
     “Your heart does. And so does your pussy.” I slide my fingers along her slit, which is already warm and wet. “It craves the thrill. You crave life. Real life. Not the fake kind. The kind that could get you killed,” I whisper close to her ear. “And I’m gonna give it to you.”
     I back away, leaving her eyes full of fear and doubt as I stand up straight and focus my attention on her pussy. It’s all I know, all I can think of that will make her submit. That will make her stop thinking about all the things she thinks she wants and focus on the things she really desires. Me.
     It’s always been me.
     She doesn’t have to say it. I can see it in her eyes. I can taste it in her fear.
     She wants me … and I’m going to give her everything I have.

#2
     “Are you going to be a good girl?”
     “Yes.”
     “Do you still think I’m nice?”
     She swallows and thinks about her answer for a second. “Only when you want to be.”
     “Exactly. And you don’t get to decide anything. You don’t get to manipulate me. I won’t allow it, so don’t try it ever again.” I grip her ass so tight that she squirms and my fingers mark her skin red.
     Her face glows as I lean in to take a whiff of her scent. Her face is much cleaner than before, and all the make-up has rinsed off. She looks pure … less tainted than hours before. Every passing second her shifting behavior affects me. Changes me. It forces me to look at her in more ways than just the one consumed by hatred.
     With the water cascading down her beautiful body, puckered nipples, and pink lips, I get the sudden urge to take what belongs to me.
     So, I do. I kiss her, pressing my lips softly onto hers, marking her as mine. She doesn’t fight, doesn’t even flinch as I kiss her gently, my tongue dipping out to lick her sweet, icy-cold lips. I let my tongue roam free across her mouth and push inside, forcing her to open up and let me in. She doesn’t resist; instead, her tongue finds mine, and her lips cling to me. The cold doesn’t suppress the warmth flowing to my cock, which grows thicker every second. All I can think of is kissing her, fucking her every fucking second of the day …, and then ruining her for life.
     I step into the shower with her, increasing the temperature further until it’s warm enough to heat up her body. She’s still shivering, as I press her firmly into my warm body. She makes herself small to fit between my arms, as if I’m a radiator she’s cuddling up to. How cute. I just want to fuck her with my tongue.
     Her taste is exhilarating, and I can’t fucking get enough of tasting her, her mouth latching onto mine with equal wantonness. Her body is quickly regaining its normal temperature, and her natural flush reappears on her face, although I’m not exactly sure if that’s because of the shower or because I’m grabbing her ass and pushing her body against mine.
     The urge to turn her around and bend her over gets bigger and bigger as she pants into my mouth, desperate for air … desperate for more kisses. I let my hands roam free over her body, cupping her tit and giving it a nice squeeze. My mouth silences her first moan, as I taste her willingness to finally submit. And, oh … how I will make her submit.







What kind of book is Stalker?
Stalker is a Dark Romantic Suspense, filled with hate, lies, lust, sex, and much, much more. ;) It’s not for the faint-hearted, but I promise you, if you sit through it, it will be worth it!

Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from movies, books, and sometimes even the stories people tell me. I love drawing inspiration from things I’ve seen or witnessed in the past. Sometimes, ideas can also just spring into my mind out of nowhere, it’s like they just appear. It’s amazing. Once I have an idea, it still takes month to take the form of a book, though. Usually it begins with a ‘what if’ question, a few characters, bits and pieces of action or things that happen … and the before I know it, there’s a complete story on my desk!

What’s the hardest part of the writing process?
The hardest part would be the creation of the storyline. The idea always begins with flashes, little scenes, but for a book I have to string those scenes together to form a coherent story. Sometimes, I have to shift around the scenes, or change course in the middle, but in the end it always turns out to be perfect! :)

What do you always need to have with you when you write?
I always need to have my bottle of water with me when I write, as well as some peace & quite, and some good music. ;) I also love to have a cup of hot tea next to me, but it’s not a requirement to write an awesome book!

You’re book is going to be made into a movie. Who play the lead roles?
For Stalker, I would say Michael Malarkey as Phoenix (With some added piercings and tattoos), and Candice Accola as Vanessa. As actors, those two match the best, but I didn’t style my characters after actors. My real role models are Stephen James & Mikkel Jensen for Phoenix, and Marina, from Marina And The Diamonds (the singer) for Vanessa.

What books can we expect from you in the future?
My next book will most likely be Twenty-One (21), and it has someone from Stalker in the leading role. I won’t tell you who, but you can find out pretty easily when you read the book ;) It’s going to be super exciting, you can check it out here.

Any final words for fans out there?
Thank you so much for reading my books, and make sure to pick up your copy of Stalker to get the complete story of Vanessa & Phoenix! It’s going to be one heck of a ride! :)

Author Bio:
Clarissa Wild is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author, best known for the dark Romance novel Mr. X. Her novels include the Fierce Series, the Delirious Series, and Stalker. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series, The Billionaire's Bet series, and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.


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Falling Fast by Tina Wainscott

Title: Falling Fast
Author: Tina Wainscott
Series: Falling Fast #1
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Loveswept
Summary:
Fans of Jasinda Wilder and Colleen Hoover will adore this emotional new small-town romance—a smoldering tale of first love and long-awaited redemption from USA Today bestselling author Tina Wainscott.

Raleigh West works in an auto shop day and night, trying to put his broken past out of mind. It’s been seven years since the fiery crash that landed his teenage sweetheart in the hospital . . . and him in jail. In an instant, he lost everything: his passion for racing, his hope of escaping his father’s shameful legacy, and the only girl he ever loved. Raleigh hasn’t seen her since that awful night. Never got a chance to apologize. And never forgave himself, either.

When brave, beautiful Mia Wentworth returns to the Florida coast for the first time in what seems like forever, it’s not to see Raleigh. Even so, the moment she arrives she can feel his presence like a gust of wind that gives her goose bumps. Opening her heart to him again seems impossible. But staying away? That might be harder still. Lucky for them both, Mia’s never been the kind of woman to take the easy way out.

Prologue
Seven years ago
     Dear Journal,
     Here I am again in this nothing little coastal town, not even a Starbucks or a decent Wi-Fi. We usually spend a week visiting Grandma, but this year it’s the whole summer while Dad consults on a dredging project.
     If I were like normal seventeen-year-olds, I’d be missing my friends. Only it’s hard to have friends when you’ve spent half your life in and out of the hospital, having to explain why you’re bald and why you’ve been out of school for chunks of time. They either feel sorry for you or drift away because they don’t know how to relate to you anymore. I understand, because I can’t relate to them, either. It’s hard to sympathize with someone over a bad hair day or getting grounded when you see how insignificant it is in the big scheme of life. Besides, who wants to be friends with someone who might die, right? I should know. I’ve lost a few friends I met at the hospital, and it’s heartbreaking.
     So, yeah, I’m not normal. But I just passed the two-year mark after my last chemo, so I am officially cured!
     As long as it doesn’t come back. Damn, I hate how that phrase rolls right into my mind. But I still have nightmares about Dr. Cane walking in with that somber expression, and me with that  sinking feeling while all I can think is NO, NO, NOT AGAIN!
     Okay, so forget that. I’m cured. PERIOD. I feel like I should be celebrating. There’s this pressure to squeeze every ounce of life from every minute, but the super-secret truth is, I just want to stay in my cocoon and be safe and comfortable.
     Being in Chambliss is both, but I’m totally bored. Most of the beaches are really small and covered in environmentally protected sea grasses or mangrove forests, so the area isn’t developed or touristy. Grandma’s neighborhood is a bunch of scrubland lots, with a scattering of older cottages on the Gulf. I don’t know anyone, and I’m not good at striking up conversations. It’s easier in the hospital, because you have something in common: “What d’ya got?” Then you trade initials, like my ARMS, or AML or Wilms’ tumor, and then comes the long words the letters stand for. And the war stories. Chemo, throwing up, the way the foods you love smell horrible. Yeah, fun stuff, but it bonds you.
     Today Mom’s dropping me off at the garage so I can pick up the Lexus that was getting fixed. I finally garnered enough pity for her to let me drive the car to the public beach, where I might actually meet kids my own age. Alone. So excited!! I’ve resolved that I will initiate a conversation with at least one person today. So nervous!!
     OMG. So Mom drops me off, right? I make her leave instead of going in with me. It’s Saturday, so the garage isn’t officially open. But the owner assured her that the mechanic who uses the shop in the off hours will give me the keys and the paperwork. When I walk to the open bays, I see muscular legs coming from beneath a supremely hot, souped-up car. I should have noticed the car first, though I’m not really a car girl. I’ve never considered myself to be boy crazy, either. But those legs, bouncing to the beat of the rock song blaring on the radio, are what snagged my attention.
     What the heck? I enjoy the view, lightly dusted legs with fair hair. Runner’s legs. Finally, I feel guilty and a bit voyeuristic, so I try to get his attention. Clearing my throat doesn’t do a bit of good over the music. I think about touching that thigh, where the muscles tighten with his movements. Stroking my fingers down the hairs that look silky soft. But, of course, I don’t! I’ve never even kissed a guy. I could tap his beat-up sneakers, I suppose, but even that’s more touching than I can consider.
     Finally, I kneel down and catch his profile. Strong nose and chin. Nice mouth, pursed as he jerks on a wrench that’s clearly not moving a bolt. Eyebrows furrowed in complete concentration. Yeah, I could stay there forever, too. But he must catch my movement, because he looks over and says,“Oh. Hey,” then pushes out on one of those mechanic’s skateboard-like things.
     My heart does this crazy bumping thing. He’s probably just a little older than me, by the six o’clock shadow along his jawline and chin. And tall, over six feet, wearing a tight black T-shirt that shows off broad shoulders. And gorgeous. Eyes as blue as the afternoon sky, you know, when there’s a storm that makes it dark and scary. And light brown hair with just a hint of red that’s a few months overdue for a haircut. For a second, or however many I’m standing there taking him in, I swear he’s doing the same to me as he wipes his hands. He cracks a smile, and OMG . . . just OMG.
     “You must be Mia Wentworth,” he says. “Here for the Lexus, right?”
     I actually cannot talk for a second. So embarrassing. I do nod, so I’m not a total loser. But I don’t want him to just hand me the key and shoo me off. He’s the conversation I’m going to initiate today. I look at the car. It’s a Camaro, with a big spoiler and red paint that glitters when the light hits it a certain way. So I chat him up on the car. It’s his. He tells me he’s doing this and that, things I have no idea about but sound fast. Then, with this secret smile, he admits he races it. There’s a group of teens who race on weekend nights. Different places every time, so the cops don’t catch on. He does this kind of work for them, too, whenever they can scrape up the dough. That’s how he said it: “dough.” So sexy, with his deep, husky voice. He’s not nervous or trying to impress me, just casual and . . . cool.
     Oh, and his name is Raleigh. Like the city in North Carolina, he says, adding that he doesn’t know why his mom chose it, since she died when he was five. His dad’s killed too many brain cells to remember the inspiration. Raleigh tells me this like it’s no big deal, yet I have a feeling he doesn’t just tell everyone.
     Raleigh. I love that name, but I simply say that I like it. It’s different. Staying cool, right? Then he invites me to watch a race sometime. He winks and suggests that I can be his pit crew, cheer him on. Like he probably doesn’t have a dozen girls who happily do that already.
     I know I can’t possibly watch an illegal race at midnight. Not with my parents’ permission, anyway. But I say, “Sure, I’d love to,” because my heart is racing, for sure, at the thought. He smiles like he’s looking forward to it. And I know he’s trouble. Big, crazy, scary trouble. And for the first time I want—no, CRAVE—that trouble. I crave the way he’s taking me in—a quick sweep of my body in my tank top and shorts, flip-flops with the plastic gems encrusted on the straps. and the toenails I’ve taken great pains to paint. He meets my eyes and smiles in a soft, intimate way. Yep, biiiig trouble.
     He doesn’t know I’ve spent seven years of my life fighting cancer. That my short hair is not a fashion statement. Or a choice. The way he looks at me, as though I’m beautiful and healthy, makes me feel like I’ve never been sick a day in my life. He’s trouble, all right. And I don’t give a damn.

Chapter 1
     Present day
     Raleigh West washed the grease off his hands. Not the way he usually did, with the soap that erased it completely, but enough to get the slickness off. He still had another hour or two dyno-tuning the black Corvette in the garage. The customer autocross raced it, and Raleigh promised it would be sexed up by the weekend.
     He glanced up as Paxton Sullivan sauntered into the garage in his officer’s uniform. Pax didn’t usually come by when he was on duty. Of course, he always looked a little “off-duty,” with his wavy hair a tad too long and his lazy smile a little too laid-back for a cop. Raleigh was surprised he’d lasted this long.
     “Sweet ride.” Pax traced the flames decaling and flashed a predatory smile. “Anyone I need to keep an eye out for?”
     Raleigh planted his hand on the car’s roof. “Calm down there, siren boy. Customer’s a fifty-year-old banker from Alabama.”
     Pax grinned in approval. “Alabama, eh? Word’s getting out about you. A-stounding. Now that the garage is for sale, you can make Hardcore Edge a full-time gig instead of skulking around at night like a chop-shop operator.”
     “If I could get the bank to give me a loan so I can buy this place. Have an extra forty grand I can borrow?”
    Pax gave him a regretful smile. “Wish I did, man. All my spare change goes into reopening the speedway. You are gonna race when we open, right? You’re just shitting me about not running, ’cause I know you want to.”
     Hell, yeah, Raleigh wanted to race. “I’ve outgrown the need for speed.”
     “That’s a big load of bull. You didn’t buy that ’Cuda just ’cause you look purty in it.”
     “I bought the car because it looked purty,” Raleigh said, imitating him. He’d tried hard to eradicate his southern accent. Pax, from more money than he came from, could afford to keep it without being judged as white trash.
     Pax dug into his pocket and tossed something to Raleigh. Reflexively, he snapped it out of the air, eyeing the key in his palm. “What’s this?”
     “Key to the gate at the track. Do your tuning there.”
     Raleigh curled his hand around the key’s jagged edge. “Trying to tempt me? Figure once I’m there I won’t be able to resist running?”
     Pax gave him the conspiratorial wink he used when they’d been planning some misadventure or another. “I’m countin’ on it. We have rules and regulations. No drinking. No screwing around. It’ll be like the good ole days, only better.” The good old days, when they were wild, young, and free. Before the crash that shattered Mia’s life and landed him in jail. “And safer.”
     “I’m not afraid to crash again.” It went deeper than that. “Look, I’d better get back to work.”
     Pax flattened his hands on the car’s roof. “I got some bad news, Raleigh. Nancy passed last night.”
     Raleigh’s heart thudded painfully. “How?”
     “She was eighty-two. Her doc thinks her heart probably just stopped tickin’.”
     Raleigh fought the tingle in his eyes by jabbing his fingers into them. “I know she was older, but she was feisty. Full of life.” He never thought about her dying, even though she talked about it. And she was so damned nonchalant, too.
     “She bought a plot at the Chambliss cemetery,” Pax said. “The funeral will be here. I bet she’ll come down for that.”
     Pax was talking about Mia. Mia, here. Raleigh didn’t think his heart could beat any slower after hearing about Nancy, but apparently it could. He fought not to close his eyes and sink into the bittersweet ache Mia’s name evoked. What would she look like now? She’d be twenty-four. Grown up.
     “Thanks for letting me know,” Raleigh said.
     Pax patted Raleigh’s arm and headed out. Raleigh stared off into the dark long after Pax’s taillights disappeared into the night. Twin emotions battled inside him. Nancy gone. The woman who’d been like a grandmother, when she should have hated him the way Mia’s parents did.
     Nancy wrote to him shortly after his incarceration, giving him an update on Mia and assuring him that she would survive. Nancy figured Raleigh must be frantic not knowing how she was. Both the update and the kindness behind it brought tears to his eyes.
     His thank-you letter had started a continuous correspondence that made all those days and weeks and months tolerable. News of Mia’s treatments, her progress, her victories. After his release, she invited him over for a home-cooked meal. That was when he noticed the loose boards on her front steps, the latticework that needed staining. He’d volunteered to fix them. They shared another meal when he had. He spotted more things that needed fixing. And, over time, they’d become friends and, in a way, family. Better than any family he had. She had fed him pictures and news about Mia over the years. Not many pictures, and most of them dimly lit or long-distance shots—the only ones Mia would allow, apparently.
     Mia had finished high school with private tutoring as she’d healed, though she’d managed to walk across the stage. Raleigh had pretended mild interest in Mia’s life, but Nancy probably saw the way he devoured every tidbit.
     Now she was gone. His friend. Surrogate grandmother. Link to Mia.
     Then there was the other emotion fighting for dominance inside him: hope, with a heavy dose of fear. Seeing Mia would be heartbreaking in a different way. How scarred would she be? How angry at him still? He could remember the pain in her voice during the one phone call they’d had since the accident. She’d barely given him a chance to say how sorry he was for letting her ride with him that night. Sure, she’d wanted to, but he should have said no.
     He couldn’t refuse Mia anything, with her hunger for speed and life and him. He’d been as intoxicated by her as she was with him. Speed had nothing on the way she made him feel, how she felt in his arms, and the way she’d come alive beneath his touch. They’d been in love the way only a seventeen-year-old and a nineteen–year-old could be—fully, recklessly, unwilling to think about the thirteen hundred miles they lived apart, the million miles of social class between them.
     After the call, he’d sent a couple of letters, needing to say that he was sorry. Still no response. Nancy suspected that Mia’s parents were intercepting them. He’d even joined Facebook, something he had no other use for, just to see if he could find her on there. No luck. So he’d settled for Nancy’s updates.
     He headed over to the  ’vette, but work wasn’t in him now. He closed everything up, parked the car outside beneath the metal roof he’d installed out back, and got into his 1970 Barracuda. The engine rumbled like a caged tiger. Giving in and buying a muscle car—not a good idea, especially with the new 4bb carburetor that bumped the horsepower to over three hundred. It whispered to him, wanted to lure him into jamming his foot down on the gas pedal.
     He needed to drive by Nancy’s cottage one more time. Maybe sit out on the deck and remember the times they had shared lasagna after he’d been painting all day or refinishing her wood floors. That was the only payment he accepted, her home-cooked meals and her friendship.
     He pulled down the gravel road that housed five cottages built in the sixties. One of them was in the process of being torn down, no doubt to be replaced by something shiny and new. The small Panhandle town didn’t boast wide, sugar-sand beaches. The scrubland in this area, with its sea-grass-covered dunes, hadn’t been developed as it had farther west. But, with the economy recovering, Chambliss was now seeing the results of the dredging project begun years ago.
     As he neared Nancy’s home, his heartbeat spiked at the sight of two cars parked out front, lights blazing inside. Mia and her parents, he bet. They’d probably just arrived, given the luggage in the open trunk. He paused, even though he knew that he should back up and leave.
     Like now.
     Except he couldn’t, because the front door opened and a woman stepped out. His heart tripped and coughed and gasped like a gunked-up carburetor. Mia. Her dark-brown hair was piled up on her head, loose strands framing her face. She stepped off the front porch and out of the light, but in that brief glimpse he could see her tired, sad expression as she headed toward the open trunk. Which would put her only a few yards away from his car.
     He still couldn’t lift his foot from the brake pedal. His windows were tinted, so she wouldn’t see him. He couldn’t see her as well, either, but he saw enough as she hefted out the black suitcase. Now his heart was racing, seventy, eighty, a hundred miles an hour. She wore a red top, one sleeve drooping off her shoulder, and shorts. Still trim and long in the torso. Still about five-five. It was her face, what he could see of it in the distant lighting, that gripped him. In this light, as beautiful as ever.      Memories flashed through his mind like a slide show: her laughing; smiling shyly; closing her eyes and arching as she came beneath him. Whispering his name, her fingers digging into his back.
     She looked up then, her gaze zeroing in on his car. Her eyebrows furrowed, and she tilted her head in the way he’d seen a hundred times. Something inside him screamed to lower the window and say something. Hello. How are you? I’m so sorry . . .
     She turned to glance behind her, where her father was coming down the steps. Raleigh hit the gas and shot forward to the end of the lane, where he had to pry his fingers from the steering wheel to put the car into park. He was shaking.
     Dammit, he’d almost screwed up. Talking to her would only dredge up a painful past for Mia. Maybe her anger, too. Her father would have blown a gasket. Mia didn’t deserve to suffer anymore over him.
     He forced himself to breathe normally and pull around the small cul-de-sac. As he passed Nancy’s cottage, he vowed that  he wouldn’t look. But he couldn’t help it. Everyone was inside, the cars closed up. He told himself it was for the better. That maybe he shouldn’t attend the funeral after all. How the hell was he going to handle seeing her without a tinted window and the night between them?

Author Bio:
Tina Wainscott has always loved the combination of suspenseful chills and romantic thrills. She's published fifteen romantic suspense novels, as well as ten paranormal romances as Jaime Rush. Losing her nephew, a Marine, in the war made her realize that our military men are really the perfect heroes. Not only during the war but afterward as they try to stitch their lives and souls together once they're home. And so was born The Justiss Alliance, an agency where these men can find purpose, honor, and love outside the war zone.

~When five Navy SEALs take the fall for a covert mission gone wrong, the brotherhood of bad-asses join The Justiss Alliance, a private agency that exacts justice outside the law.~

WILD HEARTS
WILD ON YOU
WILD WAYS – May 2014
WILD NIGHTS – Nov 2014

For contests, sneak peeks and more. For more on her paranormal romances, go to.


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So the Heart Can Dance by Mary Crawford

Title: So the Heart Can Dance
Author: Mary Crawford
Series: Hidden Beauty #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 20, 2015
Summary:
For most, life is a winding road of challenges, some joyful, while others lead to heartache and despair. Tara Isamu, a dancer blessed with grace and elegance, lives a remarkable life. She sees her future as bright...but that all changes in an instant, when a single act of violence steals her innocence.

Tara’s dreams are suddenly shattered, turning her emotions inward, where she harbors a secret that has seemingly blemished her soul. She is left in darkness until a chance meeting with an old friend opens the door to healing and love. Aidan O’Brien and Tara’s relationship is borne of youthful affection and tempered in the foundry of tragedy. Together, they walk a difficult path, one that heals through understanding and acceptance.

So the Heart Can Dance is a love story, written with deep meaning for anyone who has endured life-altering misfortune that leaves behind unseen, yet very real scars. Read it as a celebration of the soul’s ability to overcome the worst of life’s challenges. It will lift, inspire and breathe hope into the most painful experiences, and teach us all...we can surely dance again.

***Please Note: Throughout 2015 the author will donate 15% of gross profits to RAINN, a national charity dedicated to stopping sexual assault and abuse.***

Although this book is the second in the Hidden Beauty series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone.





Until the Stars Fall from the Sky #1
Summary:
Jeff finally has his life back on track after deferring his dreams so he could be there for his family when they were stuck with a health crisis. As a lifeguard and a law student, he is solely focused on graduating at the top of his class and passing the bar exam so that he can help his mom and little sister. 

In a blink of an eye, all of that changes when a beautiful redhead rescues a little boy right under Jeff’s nose while he’s lifeguarding and challenges everything he thought he wanted from the world. 

Kiera, a former swimmer turned social worker is distraction he never expected to encounter. She is smart, outgoing, witty, and vivacious and he is drawn to her more than he could have ever imagined. 

Unfortunately however, both Jeff and Kiera come with strings attached. . .

1. What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre? 
I think what brought me into the genre the most was the fact that before I became a writer I was first and foremost a voracious reader. I routinely read 700 books a year. As a person with a disability, I became really discouraged that I couldn't find romance novels that had characters that remotely resembled me. If characters with disabilities were included in stories, they often were portrayed as weak, bitter or were miraculously healed by the last chapter. Unfortunately, that's not always how life works. So, my writing grew out of my desire to show people that everyone deserves a love story regardless of your body type or disability. I wanted to show the world that you can be different and strong and sexy.

2. When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process(outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
To me, the most exciting time in the process is when I'm first coming up with a story concept and putting it on a storyboard. Trying to fit all the different puzzle pieces of the storyline together and making them into a cohesive story is complex and thrilling (and sometimes frustrating) Of course, sometimes, as an author I’ll have an idea where I want the story to go and my characters will take me in a completely different direction.

3. When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
I personally love to read romantic suspense stories. Karen Rose is one of my favorites.

4. If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
Judy Blume was the author that fueled my desire to read as a young teenager and I always have felt like she tapped into my inner soul as a fledgling young woman. It would be an honor to meet her, let alone have the privilege to write with her. If I had the opportunity, I would probably be so star-struck I wouldn’t be able to process a single thought.

5. Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
I have always been very creative. I loved to draw and paint. I would always mentally rewrite endings to TV shows and books. Unfortunately, when I was in the 7th grade, a teacher told me that I was the worst writer that he had ever taught. I spent decades believing him. A college professor tried to convince me otherwise, but it wasn’t until I started beta reading for Linda Kage and she encouraged me to break out of my shell that I became brave enough to actually try.

Author Bio:
I have been lucky enough to live my own version of a romance novel. I married the guy who kissed me at summer camp. He told me on the night we met that he was going to marry me and be the father of my children. Eventually I stopped giggling when he said it, and we just celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. We have two children. The oldest, is in medical school, and the youngest is still in elementary school.

Presently, I’m a stay at home mom and I am working on several novels. I volunteer my time to a variety of causes. I have also worked as a Civil Rights Attorney and diversity advocate. I spent several years working for various social service agencies before becoming an attorney.

In my spare time, I love to cook, decorate cakes and, of course, obsessively compulsively read.


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EMAIL: Mary@MaryCrawfordAuthor.com



So the Heart Can Dance #2

Until the Stars Fall from the Sky #1
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